Garage bids to rise from the ashes of devastating blaze

Carbar Automotive owner Kevin Robson outside his business that is still open despite having a serious fire just before Christmas.
Carbar Automotive owner Kevin Robson outside his business that is still open despite having a serious fire just before Christmas.

A GARAGE that was gutted by fire just a week before Christmas is hoping to rise from the ashes.

Carbar Automobile in Coopies Lane suffered extensive damage after a late-night fire broke out in a faulty vehicle.

Despite losing much of their equipment and waiting for a new roof to be installed, staff are battling on to do as much work as they can. Once the repairs are complete, the garage hopes to be fully functioning again.

Owner Kevin Robson said: “There were two cars written off, one was badly damaged, we lost a lot of equipment and the building itself suffered a lot of damage.

“We are waiting for the insurance company to organise a replacement roof, but the trouble is the roof is so old it is asbestos so we have to get specialists in and we can’t be here while the work is going on. Once we get the go-ahead, it should take about six weeks to get the roof on and the re-wiring and redecorating done.

“In the meantime we are actually back in the garage, though I have had to lay off three of my staff because we are limited as to what we can do. We have a temporary light up, we have managed to get the lift back and the computers on so we will keep going as best we can until the refurbishment is done and then we can get the business back up and going properly.

“We need to get the message out that we are still trying to get on with things until we need to be out, then we’re hoping to go into temporary premises until the work is done. I hope to take the staff I’ve had to lay off back on again once we get up and running so if we let people know we are still open then hopefully we will be able to get people re-employed sooner rather than later.”

The business was set up in 2007 in a smaller premises on the Morpeth industrial estate, but as its customer base grew it moved to its present site in 2009.

The operation was enjoying continued success until the fire broke out on December 15, bringing services to a temporary halt.

Mr Robson said: “It was just before midnight when I arrived at the garage after a call from the police and it was ablaze.

“It didn’t sink in at first, I just couldn’t take it in and I was so helpless. The police had the area cordoned off so I couldn’t get near. It was sickening to see it.”

However, the mechanic has been buoyed by the support of customers, as well as other local businesses.

“We do have good customer relations and they have been more than willing to continue supporting us,” he said.

“The amount of people who have offered support is unbelievable. People have even given up their time to come and try to clean up. The estate itself has been brilliant and a number of garages have offered us space in their premises while we get the building sorted. I’m quite blown away by it all.”

He added: “We are still a relatively new business and a lot of people don’t know we’re here.

“We have been trying to build the business up and this is a step back, but we will recover and come back stronger.”