"We had just finished painting this kit car -- about $3,500 worth of work -- and were getting ready to do the buff work and trim it up. Then it goes and catches on fire in the middle of the night," said owner Nils Christensen.
San Diego fire fighters responded to the fire at Moore Street Auto Body Painting & Restoration on February 14. The fire was reported about 2:30 a.m., fire officials said. No one was injured. The fire was caused by a short in the dash of the replica car.
Smoke and water damaged two other vehicles and batteries that caught fire caused a series of small explosions. "The fire was really confined to the one vehicle," said Christensen, "but it caused us a lot of grief."
The shop does a combination of collision repair and restoration work. The fire occurred early Friday morning and the staff worked throughout the weekend to clean things up. "We had to powerwash the entire inside of the shop. There was a lot of smoke damage. That soot gets into everything," said Christensen. He said the shop reopened on Tuesday but it took a week to get back into full operation. "Now it's a month later, and we're still finding more things that were damaged."
Insurance is expected to cover most of the shop's losses. Fortunately, the fire did not spread to the office and no business records were lost.