B.C. man devastated after 37 classic, rare cars destroyed in fire

Langley resident Garry Cassidy says many vehicles he lost are irreplaceable

Garry Cassidy feels like he lost 37 loved ones in a devastating fire in the early morning hours of Oct. 25.

The Milner resident was in Palm Springs when he found out that his 10,000-square-foot shop went up in flames, and inside of it, 37 classic and rare vehicles were completely charred.

It took Cassidy 17 years to collect the vehicles.

The fire happened on Cassidy’s property along the 7200 block of 216 Avenue in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Fire Destroys Classic Car Collection in Langley

“We got a phone call at 3:39 on Wednesday morning,” Cassidy told the Times as he stood in front of the burned remains of his car collection.

On the other line was a representative from the security company, who told Cassidy that there was a break-in and a fire alarm and that RCMP and the fire department had been called.

Cassidy said his wife Darlene went on the couple’s iPad and “goes onto our security camera and there was nothing.”

“And we went, ‘Oh my God, this can’t be good,’” Cassidy shared.

Five minutes later, a friend of the couple went to the shop and then called them with the bad news.

“He phoned me and said, “It’s not good,’” Cassidy said.

The oldest car on the shop was a 1931 Ford two-door sedan; his prized possession was a one-of-a-kind 1961 Bel Air convertible.

“Most of my cars were General Motors products,” Cassidy said.

“There’s collectors and there’s flippers. We were collectors. We hardly ever got rid of anything we bought, and this is how we ended up with these many cars.”

The cars and the shop are insured, but the emotional damage has taken a toll on Cassidy.

“It’s not about the insurance,” Cassidy said. “Somebody said, ‘Oh, he probably started it on fire because the market’s down.’ It’s not about the insurance.”

His voice cracking, Cassidy pointed to what was left of one of the cars. “A million dollars wouldn’t replace that car because it’s the only one on the world.

“I had a ’61 Impala convertible, but I can’t tell you it was the only one in the world because it wasn’t. That Bel Air was the only one in the world. So that’s what’s really hard.”

He continued, “This Ferrari… they built 100 Ferraris, 355 F1s in ’99 but only 10 in the whole world were in black. That’s one of 10.”

Cassidy said most of his cars had stories. “That’s what I loved about them.”

Asked if he planned to rebuild, Cassidy answered, “Absolutely.”

“This will be up in about six or seven months,” he said. “I always say to people, ‘You drive by my place on Saturday morning, if the gate’s open, and if my pickup is parked in front of the shop, come in. I would love you to come and see my cars.”

“I’m only the keeper of them.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the size of the shop.



troy.landreville@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Cannings to host Penticton town hall on Trans Mountain pipeline

A discussion about the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion with South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP

Summerland Steam to play in two road games

Junior B team will face Nelson Leafs, Castlegar Rebels on weekend

Gingras is turning in her leash with animal control

After 28 years, the ACO is leaving her position with Penticton/Summerland Animal Control

Funding allocated to finish KVR Trail in Kaleden

The RDOS has voted to allott over $30,000 to see that portion of the trail completed

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Your morning news in 90: Sept. 21, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. doctor weighs in on the kid ‘screen time’ debate

A Maple Ridge mother opens up about her children’s use of tablets, smartphones and television

B.C. councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Most Read