The office still smells of fresh paint at Drago’s Autopro, but the rest of the shop is burnt and contaminated with smoke after a truck battery started a fire on Saturday.
Co-owner Rob Guido said the business will be closed for up to a year after the fire gutted one customer’s truck and damaged another, along with most of the building’s interior.
“We just finished a renovation up front,” he said. “We put so much time into this place — new doors, new lights, everything.”
It’s a new location for Drago’s, having just expanded the business to the North Shore from the older River Street location, which still hosts half the business.
The restoration work is expected to take between seven and 12 months, putting five employees temporarily out of work, Guido said.
Drago’s has loyal customers, who Guido said were understanding when he called to notify those who were booked for service. The May 13 fire was an accident, he said.
The truck at the source of the blaze was a Ford F550, equipped with extra service equipment putting more demand on the single battery than just its motor and interior accessories, he said.
“It’s a known issue… for service body trucks I think,” Guido said. “Guys can put light bars, floodlights and auxiliary pumps into these trucks, but these are only 12-volt batteries.”
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Guido believes it caused an already-aged battery to short and managed to spark a fire.
The hydraulic hoist under the truck was lowered when they closed for the night, but the heat from the fire increased the pressure, raising the truck until it stopped at the ceiling.
One side of the shop is fire-damaged, including some of the exterior, while the rest is damaged from the smoke.
No one was inside the building at the time, but a person nearby saw the fire when it started and called firefighters to the scene, Guido said.
Kamloops Fire Rescue was not able to respond with information in time for publication.
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