Only charred remains of auto restoration shop remain after fire

Chris Smith / The Valley Chronicle
The charred remains of a body shop and its classic cars being restored inside can be seen in the ruins of a once-thriving restoration business in the 1000 block of N. State Street, Unit 304, near Little Pantry Cafe. The fire, which raced through the structure the night of March 15, resulted in the building collapsing and destroying several classic cars inside. Hemet firefighters used their ladder truck to spray water on the inferno and kept it from spreading to nearby businesses. Hemet was assisted by Cal Fire/Riverside because of the size and intensity of the blaze, which was marked by a series of explosions from gas tanks and propane within. Bystanders said a worker was attaching – or removing – a gas tank when it slipped, fell and caught fire. The official cause, however, has yet to be released. Losses from the blaze are estimated at around $500,000.

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