In last month’s issue of Autobody News, we featured the story “Brindle’s Auto Body in St. Thomas, PA, Gets Home and Shop Double-Hit by Sandy.” In an follow up with the owner, we’ve learned that the process to rebuild the shop has ground to a halt.
“It was going good, but now it’s come to a standstill. The state wouldn’t give us a permit,” said Dave Brindle, owner of Brindle’s Auto Body located in St. Thomas in southcentral Pennsylvania. Superstorm Sandy struck a path right through the small town and the damage to Brindle’s shop was catastrophic.
“Even though we are only rebuilding what was there and we made the walls at least twice as strong as they were before, the state said that because we are repairing walls and that is the structure, we have to get an engineer in and design something to bring the walls up to code,” Brindle reported.
“Then, after they inspect and approve it, then they will give us a permit. We were hoping to have a roof on and be on our way to being finished by now. But now, I have no clue when things will be done.”
Brindle’s, in business for more than 20 years, was able to save all the cars at the shop at the time because they noticed the roof coming down in time to move the vehicles. The storm blew the roof off and falling rafters damaged and pulled down walls. The building was without power for 10 days and during that time when it had no security, someone broke in and stole several thousand dollars worth of tools.
Brindle recently got the bad news that insurance will only cover $1,000 each for employees who lost their tools in the storm.
“We haven’t heard anything from the police about the tools that were stolen and I don’t know if we ever will,” Brindle said.
“And then we just found out that the employees’ tools had a $1,000 cap so they only got $1,000 each. That is not near enough. We were told at first ‘don’t worry, they are covered.’ We are not happy about that all. Overall, I think, with the rest, insurance has taken care of everything else.”
Meanwhile, Brindle’s Auto Body continues to work on some cars part-time at the home garage of a former employee.
“Most of our customers are still waiting for us to reopen. Only a few that I know of have taken their vehicles somewhere else. But if we don’t get back soon, I’m not sure how long they will wait,” he added.