Family-run garage J S Autos, along with three other car repair businesses, were engulfed in flames after a fire broke out on Thursday morning.
The incident took place on Empress Road, Southampton where 79 fire fighters rushed to the scene to battle the blaze. No casualties were reported while police and ambulance services offered support to local residents and bystanders.
The family business, which has served the area for over 40 years, took the brunt of the fire suffering from smashed windows and broken vehicles when the roof collapsed in on itself.
Speaking to the Southern Daily Echo, Jhalman Rai, owner of JS Autos said. “It’s 40 years of business down the drain. It’s a family business and it happened so fast. I was coming back from a test drive and the business next door, people were working on a car,” he continued. “Smoke started coming from it and then all of a sudden it just went up, flames everywhere and we had to get out.”
Also speaking to the newspaper, Kevin Evenett, Incident Commander added: “There were multiple businesses affected and it appears that they were all interlinked. We had 79 personnel on scene and ten pumps and fortunately everyone was out and okay wn we arrived”.
“It’s definitely a reasonable size incident and that thick black smoke is tyres, grime and oil. Cars were involved in the fire but we don’t know how many, and the roof of the building has collapsed in on itself”.
The fire services deemed the area ‘safe’ the next day (Friday 21st) at 9:25am.
The cause of the fire is still not known as the Hampshire Fire and Rescue continue their investigation.