‘I feel like giving up’: Auto shop owner devastated after business destroyed by fire

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The owner of an auto shop in Richmond’s northside is devastated after his business was destroyed by fire overnight.

The fire sparked at around 11 p.m. at the Richmond Auto Repair Services store on Lombardy Street near Graham Road. Officials told 8News the fire started in the back of the building at an overhang that eventually collapsed.

There’s no official word yet on the extent of the damage or what caused the fire, which has left Russell House searching for answers.

“I’m at the point where I feel like giving up,” the auto shop owner told 8News. “I felt like I lost everything.”

House has worked at Richmond Auto Repair Services for 32 years. His son now runs the shop.

“I came from Chesterfield and by the time I got here, there was just smoke,” House recalled of when he arrived at the scene Monday night.

Piles of debris now fill the back of the shop, which caused damage to at least two cars.

“We think somebody dropped a cigarette in there, in one of the trash cans,” House explained. “Started from over here. Then I guess it came to this truck.”

House believes a homeless man that sleeps near the building tossed a cigarette that sparked the fire.

Investigators have not yet determined a cause, but said a 42-gallon trash can helped fuel the flames.

The inside of the shop did not sustain significant power, but the fire knocked out the electricity, thus preventing House from working.

“Some major jobs we need to do and we can’t do them without the lifts,” House explained. “And that’s going to kind of throw us behind.”

It is estimated that the damages will cost the business several thousands of dollars.

“Worked all these years here and never had anything like this to happen before,” House said. “I don’t know, I just hope everything works out.”

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