More than 100 firefighters were called to a devastating fire in Tioga County Monday morning. Tamara Lindstrom was at the scene. She tells us about the damage and how the raging fire got started.
SPENCER, N.Y. -- What began with a car crash on Ithaca Road in Spencer Monday morning ended with a Tioga County business reduced to ashes.
"From what we were told, there were two cars trying to get away from a head-on collision and they hit the telephone pole, causing the electrical wires to go in and start the fire," said Lee Campfield, a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team
"The first truck on scene noticed that the power lines were on the body shop. Subsequently, it lit the body shop on fire and became a structure fire," said Spencer Fire Chief Derek Grier. "It was burning hot and quick."
More than 100 emergency responders from Tioga, Tompkins and Chemung counties worked to battle the fire at Walter's Body Shop and the nearby home. The same family owns the business and lives next door. But now, there is little left of the shop or the vehicles inside.
"It's probably a complete loss," Grier said. "We were able to save the house. It's got a little bit of damage to the siding. Other than that, it's still intact."
Obviously traumatized by the loss, family members weren't yet ready to be interviewed. But the mother told said it was, "like going in and out of a nightmare."
"All the electricity is gone. The house is scorched. They had a fire in the basement also," Campfield said. "But it was a freak accident that caused the whole thing."
No one was hurt in the car crash that sparked the fire and the shop was empty. One person was in the home at the time, but he escaped without injury.
"The mom and dad were with the other son overnight," Campfield said. "And I think it was probably best for them, because this is their home. Their livelihood is here."
While the auto shop is gone, officials say with some repair and a lot of cleaning, the family will likely be able to return to their home.
The Red Cross is assisting the victims of the fire.
The Tioga County Sheriff's Office has not yet released specifics on the car crash or who was involved.