5 Alarm Fire Destroys Over 100 Classic Cars in Staunton, Illinois
Luckily, there were no injuries, but nearly 150 classic cars, some of them absolutely irreplaceable, were lost to a huge fire in the small Illinois town of Staunton Tuesday night. Staunton is roughly 3 and a half hours from Rockford, south of Springfield in Macoupin County.
The fire began around 8 p.m at Country Classic Cars. Approximately 100 firefighters from 13 different departments did everything they could to save the business. Five buildings, one of which housed about 150 vehicles, were a total loss.
The business kept about 600 cars dating from the 1920s to the 1980s on the property. About a quarter of those cars burned.
“They don’t make them like this anymore,” said Russ Noel, owner of Country Classic Cars. “A lot of those cars in there, I’ll never replace them probably.”
Flames lit up the night sky; the blaze could be seen from miles away. Witnesses said smoke was so thick they had to close nearby roads. About five percent of the cars were owned by folks who put their vehicle under consignment.
When dawn broke, the magnitude of the devastation was clearly shown. Favorite cars of collectors had been turned into charred debris. There were no fire hydrants in the area.
“We were required to truck in water,” said Staunton Fire Chief Rick Haase.
Officials from the Illinois State Fire Marshall's office were on the scene of the fire yesterday to investigate. Russ Noel says he plans on re-opening today, but he still has no idea what the total damage assessment will be. He says he's relieved to know that none of the car titles were lost or damaged.
Here's what Country Classic Cars looked like last summer: