SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) -- A Springfield auto body shop remains boarded up Tuesday evening, one day after a fire that caused thousands of dollars in damage, which was likely caused by shop employees.
Springfield Fire & Life Safety investigators now believe they know what sparked flames at Dawg Automotive on 2nd Street and Main Street in the heart of downtown Springfield.
The fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 18th, 2012, in the center of the shop. Investigators believe welding is ultimately what caused the fire.
“The first arriving Springfield pumper found a pretty heavy fire in the center of the building and smoke throughout,” said Eugene/Springfield District Fire Chief Don Vaught on Monday evening.
Deputy fire marshal Brian Parmelee told NewsSource 16 on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 that auto shop employees were welding too close to combustable materials. Investigators say the materials likely smouldered, then caught fire about 20 minutes after employees had left the shop and closed up for the night around 6 p.m.
Dawg Automotive's shop owners told NewsSource 16 via email on Tuesday that two cars were destroyed inside the shop.
Fire crews sent dozens of crews members to help put the flames out on Monday evening. The fire was especially concerning because of the nature of the business, with a possibility of automotive oils, solvents and chemicals inside.
"It looks like the majority of the fire was towards the center of the building. And that's where we will at least initiate our investigation and then go outward from there, but it appears that's where the lion's share of the damage was from the fire and then heavy smoke damage throughout the building" said Vaught.
Springfield fire investigators estimate the damage to the business around $685,000. Much of the rest of the building has smoke damage, destroying large quantities of merchandise inside.
Fire investigators say structurally, the building is in decent shape beyond a hole in the roof, smoke damage and fire damage to several rafters. According to Springfield Fire crews, the auto shop said it is planning to stay in business. In the meantime, the building will need large amounts of work before it can be used once again.
The auto shop is attached to several other buildings on the block, but crews were able to keep flames contained to just the shop. No one was hurt in the fire.