A long time Arenzville business was destroyed by fire on Friday.
Multiple fire departments responded to a call of a fire at Reg’s Auto Service on St. Charles St. Friday morning. Reggie Carls, owner of the business since approximately 1980, says the fire started in a lower part of the building, however he was unable to tell how.
Carls who is a member of the volunteer fire department says he called in the fire at approximately 10:30 am.
Arenzville Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Chris Privia who works in Concord says the Meredosia Fire Department immediately responded as they are automatic aid with Arenzville. Privia says he could see the smoke as he was leaving Concord, and immediately called in to the Beardstown Fire Department for support as well.
He says the fire spread very quickly as the building was fully engulfed when the first firefighters who were in Arenzville at the time of the call, first arrived on scene.
Carls says fire personnel had trouble getting to the flames in the attic area of the two story structure.
Privia says the Arenzville Fire Department was on scene until 8:00 pm, and the age of the building, combined with the hot weather made for tough conditions for the crews on scene.
“We got a few sheets of tin pulled off of the roof and found out there was a couple of layers of shingles underneath the tin. It makes it kinda tough to get to from the outside. The structure wasn’t stable enough, I didn’t feel comfortable putting anybody inside, where we really needed to be to get to it. It wasn’t worth the risk of getting somebody hurt. The hot temperatures didn’t help anything.”
Members of the Virginia Fire Department were called for support with their tanker as town officials concerned if there would be enough water available. Privia says they were already pulling as much as they could from fire hydrants when the call for support was made.
He says with the nature of the auto repair business, there was ample fuel for the fire to spread quickly.
Priva says he is grateful not only for the firefighters who assisted from the other departments, but also for the Meredosia-Bluffs Resque Squad and Beardstown Ambulance Service personnel who responded to the call and assisted in him in keeping firefighters hydrated and cooled off as they battled the blaze during the worst heat of the day.
No one was injured in the fire, and Privia says thanks to the EMS responders, no fire personnel were injured or succumb to heat exhaustion during the operation.
A witness to the fire who was assisting Carls sort through the damage Saturday morning says the fire was a real blow to the community, and that Reg’s was a cornerstone business in Arenzville.
Fire officials have deemed the structure a total loss.