Fire damages shop in Craig |

Fire damages shop in Craig

Scott Schlaufman

A fire early Sunday morning heavily damaged Northwest Detail, a Craig business at 197 Commerce St.

Craig Fire/Rescue responded to the report of a structure fire at about 3:40 a.m.

About three-quarters of the building was ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene, fire chief Bill Johnston said.

Firefighters worked for five hours putting out and investigating the fire, the fire chief said.

Six engines and 23 firefighters responded to the scene. The Memorial Hospital EMS and Craig Police Department assisted firefighters with the call.

Steve Maneotis, owner of both the shop and Victory Motors, spent the morning and early afternoon surveying the damage.

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"We're sick to our stomachs," Maneotis said. "It's our family buisiness.

"A piece of property that you work so hard for, to go up in smoke like that, it's a pretty helpless feeling and our whole family's saddened by the whole thing."

As of Sunday afternoon, it was unsafe to go inside the building.

"The inside of the building is pretty compromised due to heat," Johnston said. "The structure of the metal building is in question because of the high heat melting the structural members."

Johnston didn't have an estimate of damages to the building, but Maneotis said that it was a "complete loss."

In addition to the building, there was a mobile home belonging to a customer and several vehicles that belonged to the shop that were destroyed, Maneotis said.

Maneotis was thankful for the firefighters, who fought the blaze in temperatures of 20 degrees below.

"They did everything they possibly could," Maneotis said.

A faulty electrical system in a vehicle inside the shop is believed to have caused the fire, Johnston said.

The vehicle was plugged in and may have had a short that caused the vehicle to catch fire, Johnston added. The fire then spread to the rest of the building.

Johnston said arson has been ruled out as a cause.

"It is not suspicious in nature," he said.

No one was in the shop at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.

The shop employs four people but as of Sunday, the plans for its future were unclear as management was still coping with the loss.

"We'll just have to wait and see what the future holds at this point," Maneotis said. "We've got to allow time for everything to take its course, at this point."

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