Novus Auto Glass owner picks up after fire

CARLSBORG — The day after the fire, Brent Larson repaired a customer’s windshield out in the parking lot before heading down to The Home Depot for supplies to board up what was left of Novus Auto Glass Repair & Replacement.

The blaze that broke out with heavy smoke and flames late Thursday night destroyed one half of the business at 65 and 67 Hooker Road and left the other half smoke-damaged, said Larson, who owns the franchise with his wife, Laraine.

Four vehicles were in the fire, two of them classic cars owned by customers.

“Two are toast and two smell like toast,” Larson said Friday.

The place smelled like burnt tar and rubber Friday while Larson, who has been in business in Sequim for 11 years, worked at the shop where the firm relocated about a year and half ago from 81 Hooker Road.

“Most of my stuff was destroyed,” he said, “but I was able to do a windshield repair for a customer” out in the parking lot.

Among his losses were a classic truck — a 1966 Ford Econoline pickup — and a shop vehicle.

The two customer-owned cars — a 1937 Plymouth and a 1958 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia — suffered only smoke damage.

“They’re smelly but still intact,” Larson said, who was relieved for his customers.

No one was in the building when the fire broke out and no one was injured.

The fire was accidental, said Lt. Bob Rhoads, Clallam County Fire District 3 spokesman.

It caused by an errant — and long-lived — welding spark, he said.

“Sparks fly all over the place [while welding] and one of these lodged somewhere and smoldered until it had enough air,” he said.

Larson had been welding just before he left at 6:30 p.m., the last person out of the building, both Larson and Rhoads said. The fire was reported at 9:40 p.m.

“In all that time, it just smoldered and smoldered until it took off,” Rhoads said.

More than 20 firefighters — battling a blaze with heavy smoke and flames spurting from the west of the building — contained the fire in about 45 minutes, Rhoads said. It was extinguished by 11:30 p.m.

It was reported by a fire district employee, mechanic John McIntyre who was driving by and saw gray smoke.

Firefighters took care to keep cool a 150-gallon propane tank outside the building as well as oxygen tanks used for welding.

Another potential hazard was the 40 to 80 gallons of gas inside the four cars, Rhoads said.

“We were able to salvage some of his computer records and things like that, which is critical for a business,” Rhoads said, adding that the department had no damage estimates on Friday.

Both Larson and the building owner Al Forderer were insured.

“Half the building” — where the fire started — “is a complete loss,” Forderer said. “The rest” — which was protected by a fire wall — “is probably a 25 percent loss.”

Six engines and an aid car were at the fire. Support was provided by the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and Olympic Ambulance, Rhoads said, adding that Clallam County Public Utility District also sent a crew to turn off power to the building.

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