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16 vehicles lost in Future Ford fire, $1.5M in damages

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Staff at Future Ford were back open for business and say they were even selling cars this morning. A spokesperson for the dealership tells Action News they also spent the day identifying the burnt cars to figure out who they belong to order to compensate them.

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On Saturday Future Ford's general manager, Randy Skates was still coming to grips that flames tore through the dealership's service center. Skates said, I have never seen a fire like that before."

The Clovis Fire Department says the fire began around 4.20 p.m. on Friday afternoon in the service department of the dealership. "They were doing some work in the back of a shop on a vehicle and one of the tanks that they were working on appears to have crossed something electrical and ignited some fumes and that's what started the fire," said Clovis Fire's Chad Fitzgerald.

Clovis Fire says the blaze destroyed 16 cars in the building and burnt through tools and equipment. Investigators estimate the structural damage totals over $1.5 million. Investigators tell Action News there were no sprinklers in the roughly 20,000 square foot building. "This was built at a time when the adopted code did not require that and that's why they didn't have sprinklers installed," said Fitzgerald.

A spokesperson for Future Ford says the company will compensate those whose cars were in the blaze. "We will definitely take care of you. You don't have to worry about getting another car or having to pay for your car. We will take care of everything; rental cars, everything," said Fitzgerald.

Staffs at Future Ford say an insurance company will be on site to survey the damage later this week. Meanwhile, if people need to service their vehicles, staff say they will be able to repair them at three other shops on the premises.

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UPDATE: December 17, 2011 - 11:10 A.M.

Investigation and analysis continue Saturday morning regarding the fire that caused major damage to a service center at Future Ford of Clovis.

Loss of approximately 16 vehicles in the building, tools, equipment and structural damage now total over $1,500,000.

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A large fire gutted part of the Future Ford dealership in Clovis on Friday afternoon, sending a plume of black smoke into the autumn sky.

The blaze began around 4:20 Friday afternoon in the service department of the dealership, which sits near Shaw Ave. and Highway 168.

Action News has learned that employees were reportedly draining fuel from a vehicle when the fuel somehow ignited and spread to other vehicles in the area. However, fire officials have not yet confirmed that as cause and are waiting to perform their own investigation.

Early reports indicated that all employees made it out of the building safely. There were no reported injuries.

By 6 p.m. the fire was mostly extinguished, but firefighters were cautious about entering the building.

The dealership manger tells Action News he is not sure how many vehicles were in the service department at the time of the blaze, but he says the service department is likely a total loss.

The blaze sent a large plume of smoke into the afternoon sky, and tied up traffic on Shaw Ave. for hours in the middle of the evening commute. Clovis fire officials reported that their engines had difficulty reaching the fire due to traffic congestion.

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Tags:
future ford, fire, clovis, fresno county, local
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