Businesses fall in blaze’s path

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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The fickle, shifting path of the 49 Fire left some businesses sifting through the ashes and others up and running Monday. The fire swept across Locksley Lane, burning the C&E Auburn V-Twin Inc. motorcycle showroom building to the ground but leaving the service center behind it still intact. Across the street, hundreds of tires erupted in flames at Schultz Tire Factory but service bays were operational. The adjacent North Fork Veterinary Clinic sustained minimal damage and farther up the hill, Locksley Mini Storage was open for business next to a lot grayed by ash and cinder. “Honest to God, I prayed like you wouldn’t believe,” Locksley Lane Mini Storage manager Amy Mistler said. “Things moved very quickly.” The motorcycle shop, the well-known home to Harley-Davidson for many years, was strewn with mangled metal from a fire that veterinary clinic employee Margaret Waltz said was a wall of flame as it approached. Animals from the clinic were all safe inside the building during the fire that swept around it while more than half-a-million dollars worth of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were saved from destruction. Emma Lujan, store co-owner, said employee Ken Yates and several other men were able to remove 20 motorcycles – including a 1936 “knucklehead” Harley valued at $100,000 – from the shop. With flames already licking the roof, a forklift was used to break through the locked front door and bring the bikes to safety. At the veterinary clinic, veterinarian Tom Sheriff said four dogs and six cats were at the clinic when the fire approached. Once the building was secure, employee Chris Piper and a man and woman who stopped to help stayed with a 2-inch hose hooked up to the hydrant to keep the fire down at the tire store. At Schultz Tire Factory, as was the case with many businesses closed Monday, power had not been restored to the building and telephone service wasn’t back up. “If we were up before the end of the week, I’d be surprised,” said co-owner Joyce Schultz. Schultz said the efforts of people like Piper were to be commended. “He saved our building,” she said. “He needs an award from the mayor or something.” T.J. Jackson of T.J. Enterprises said the Locksley Lane body and paint shop was staying open Monday aided by a generator. The auto paint building and offices escaped damage while the body shop had been singed on one side. Jackson had praise for Norm Paul for saving his building by providing water from his water tender at a crucial time in the fire. Jackson also praised Carmen Rothe of APL Janitorial Services and her daughters for keeping water on hot spots during a four-hour vigil. “They saved the building,” Jackson said. “I asked Norm if I could pay him anything and he said it was all-volunteer. What a community Auburn is.” ------------------------------------------- Open for business Monday* North Fork Veterinary Clinic Greenlee Chiropractic Locksley Mini Storage El Charro Market TJ Enterprises Mitenyi Biotec Sierra Trench Protection Quality Automotive Ginty’s Supplies Auburn Car Tunes Dutch Bros. Coffee 84 Lumber Closed for business Monday* Schultz Tire Factory C&E Auburn V-Twin Inc. Locksley Lane Deli Pacific Custom Machining Roger’s Automotive Seven Enterprises Master Technician Auburn Service Center Quality Metal Fabricators Clark Pest Control Yamasaki Nursery * Survey conducted Monday afternoon. When businesses re-open, that information will be published as soon as it becomes available.