Tuesday night, about 150 classic vehicles were destroyed in a big fire at Country Classic Cars in Staunton. The fire began around 8 p.m. The blaze could be seen from miles away. Unfortunately, there were no fire hydrants in the area.
Up to one hundred firefighters from 13 different departments participated to the operation but buildings including the cars were a total loss. It took firefighters more than two hours to bring the fire under control. They remained on scene until about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Determining the origin of fires in a single large room is difficult. Investigators with the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office were on scene. Private insurance investigators will likely also examine the gutted building, due to the size of the likely claim.
Destroyed car after the blaze
The building itself had sufficient combustibles to burn on it’s own, but the vehicles inside, with their fabric, plastic, fuel and tires, added to the fire’s fuel load. “The interior of that build was a wooden structure,” firefighters said. The massive destruction produced some irreparable damage to the automotive history. The business kept about 600 cars dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. “A lot of those cars in there, I’ll never replace them probably,” the owner of Country Classic Cars, Russ Noel, appreciated. About five percent of the cars were owned by folks who put their vehicle under consignment. Country Classic Cars had been celebrating its 20th anniversary.