Waitsfield car repair shop burns to the ground

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WAITSFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) Dozens of firefighters battled flames at a Waitsfield car repair shop Monday morning, a devastating loss for the longtime owner.

Wiping away tears, Andrew Baird says like any other Monday, he was having breakfast at the local senior center with his son and granddaughter. That's when he noticed something.

"I saw smoke and it looked like it was coming from the other side of Mehurons -- thought what the hell they burning?" Baird said.

He thought nothing of it and dropped his granddaughter off at school. That's when he says his phone rang. "Just as we are pulling into school I got the call that the shop was on fire," Baird said.

When he arrived at his shop on Route 100, crews were already battling the blaze.

"It was a hot fire because of the contents inside being vehicles and waste oil and other plastics and rubber and tires," said Waitsfield Fire Chief Adam Cook. He says the fire is not suspicious and no one was hurt, but there was concern about the hazardous materials inside. "We put out containment booms to try to contain waste oil and fuel going into the river and other parts of the environment."

"It was a major repair shop for the town. He could fix anything" said Paul Hartshorn, the assistant fire chief and a select board member. He says Baird and his shop was an essential part of the community. "He was pretty accommodating. He would be there and fix you, he would come to your house and he would fix you."

"These men, they could have been doing their jobs, instead they are helping me," Baird said. He says they do have plans to rebuild. They built the shop themselves the first time and he says they can do it again.