An early morning fire destroyed one West Haven business, and put another one in jeopardy.
The West Haven Fire Department got the call around 2 a.m. about a fire in a well-known West Haven building. It’s shared by the Blue Ribbon Car Wash and Reliable Tire and Auto Service. The flames were all on the tire and auto side, and firefighters know a tire fire means trouble.
“It’s just a hot fire. It’s hard to put them out,” said West Haven Fire Deputy Chief Ed Sweeney. “You need large volumes of fire, and we had water coming down from the master streams. The roof hadn’t opened up yet, so it was hard to get at the fire, and we’re not putting any of our firefighters in danger, so we don’t go inside.”
As the sun came up, we could see just how much damage that hot fire did to the auto business. That center bay is a charred wreck. The roof is gone. A Volkswagon Beetle almost unrecognizable inside.
Fortunately, it is a very solidly constructed building. So, for as much damage as there is to the tire shop side, there is a good, solid wall between it and the car wash side, meaning there is not all that much damage to the car wash.
“Got a lot of memories here. I grew up,” said Terry Stone, who started working at Blue Ribbon when he was just 14. That was more than 4 decades ago. “I should have wrote a book about this place. An autobiography. I’d be rich today. I saw professional wrestlers come in here. Bruno Sanmartino, Haystack Calhoun.”
Stone said he had been helping the owners make some improvements.
“I had already started power washing the wall, I painted the lines,” said Stone. “We were getting this place back to where it used to be.”
Some smoke and water got into the car wash, but Stone says they will make the repairs and their loyal customers will see a new, better, Blue Ribbon.
“We were in the process of doing a lot of remodeling and now this happened,” Stone said. “It’s going to set us back, but we’re going to get through this.”
It’s just a question of how long it will take. Meanwhile, the fire marshal is trying to figure out how theis fire started in the middle of the night when no one was working inside.