TRAVERSE CITY — Fire destroyed a garage complex in East Bay Township that was part of a classic car restoration shop, and about a dozen cars inside.
The blaze broke out sometime before 6:50 a.m. Sunday when smoke and heat sensors tripped a fire alarm at the Supply Road location, Grand Traverse Metro Fire Chief Pat Parker said. Responders arrived to find flames engulfing half the complex, a small garage and breezeway, and spreading to the rest, a large pole barn.
Smoke was still wafting from the ruins just before 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and Parker said the department would stay for another hour to drown remaining hot spots.
No one was injured, Parker said.
Fire destroyed not only the workshop but around 12 classic cars parked inside, Parker said. Firefighters were able to save a few, but some of those that were destroyed were one-of-a-kind. The family that owned the workshop and cars was in shock, he said.
“It’s sad to see that kind of loss,” Parker said.
The building’s location between Rennie Lake and Perch Lake roads had no readily available water to fight the fire, Parker said. The nearest points were a boat launch on Island Lake and a hydrant near Hammond and Rasho roads.
Five departments helped truck in water, with Blair Township, Fife Lake, Paradise Township, South Boardman and Whitewater Township departments assisting, Parker said.
Overall, about 25 firefighters worked to put out the fire, and they dumped what Parker roughly figured to be 40,000 gallons of water on it, he said.
East Bay Ambulance stood by, and Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services provided lunch, snacks and water to firefighters, Parker said. Elmer’s Crane and Dozer helped remove the metal roof from the building to assist in fighting the fire.
Grand Traverse Sheriff’s deputies at one point closed off Supply Road and redirected traffic for about 3.5 hours, Parker said.
What caused the fire is unknown, Parker said. The alarm system indicated it started in an office, and no one was inside at the time. The building and cars are insured, so Grand Traverse Metro Fire investigators will wait for insurance company representatives before they dig through the rubble to search for a cause.