Cause of Sundance Chevrolet fire under investigation

Published: Jan. 21, 2019 at 6:04 PM EST
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Two days after crews battled the fire at Sundance Chevrolet, fire investigators went back to the scene to search for a cause.

It's the second fire at the dealership since 2017.

It took crews about two hours to put the fire out, and now they are just trying to figure out how this happened.

"It's like lightning hitting you twice, you know? Who would ever think of it? It's just one of those unreal situations," Sundance Chevrolet owner Terry Hanks said.

More than 10 fire departments rushed to Sundance on Saturday. On Monday, crews went back to the scene to investigate possible causes.

"I'm not really thinking suspicious at this time. But we always have to think in that direction. Accidental could have definitely been something that could have happened," said Chief Rodney Vandecasteele, of the Grand Ledge Area Fire Department.

The chief said they won't narrow down the cause until they get into the building with bigger machines. He says people working in the building got out safely.

"The building was occupied. The tenants that were in it did see the fire. They did use efforts to try to extinguish the fire, so now we want to figure out what caused it."

Hanks said he wanted to thank the firefighters for their work in the cold. He added that their next mission is to rebuild a new body shop as soon as possible.

"It's just one of those things, you get knocked down, you get back up. Business goes on as usual," Hanks said.

In the meantime, workers at the dealership will be taking their cars to a place in St. Johns to be worked on while they look for a place nearby. Hanks added the dealership will either replace or pay for any customer cars that were destroyed in the fire.

Investigators were never able to figure out exactly what caused the 2017 fire at Sundance.

They say the damage was too extensive to leave enough clues behind. It destroyed more than 30 cars and burned down the "bunkhouse" used-car building. The dealership had to get 1,200 new keys made for the cars that survived the fire.