Gas cylinder was cause of explosion that tore through Lord Street Motors in Grimsby
THE OWNER of a car garage has been left devastated – after witnessing his livelihood go up in flames.
Malvin Hunter, who owns Lord Street Motors, in Grimsby, is today counting the cost of a fire which tore through the interior of his premises on Sunday night.
A gas cylinder kept in the storeroom for welding purposes exploded, sending the middle part of the building crashing to the ground in a pile of rubble.
The explosion is said to have been heard from miles around Grimsby.
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Mr Hunter, 64, and his wife Sonia, 60, have run the successful company together for the past 22 years.
Mr Hunter, who worked as a mechanic there for nine years before taking it over, said: "We were at home when we got the call to say the building was on fire.
"It was not until we got down there that we realised the extent of it all.
"We are not sure if it was an electrical fault or an arson attack, the fire and police services are still working together on that one.
"The whole business has vanished into ashes and rubble, everything is either melted or totally incinerated.
"All my mechanical tools, heavy machinery and three cars that belonged to the garage were caught in the fire. I have no idea how long or how much it will be to rebuild years of hard work and graft – it is very upsetting and I just cannot believe what has happened.
"We will be talking to the insurance company to see what we can claim from them.
"I am just glad no one was hurt during the fire or the explosion; it could all have been a lot worse.
"I want to thank my two mechanics, Martin Sussex and Michael Rose, for their help. They were here all day yesterday.
"And I am very grateful to the emergency services for their quick response and support.
"Our main focus will be to get the main garage back up and running as soon as possible so that I can get some business and income coming in again.
"A huge amount of work has to be done, but this is my life – I have to get it back together again."
Humberside Fire And Rescue were called to the scene at about 9.45pm and police arrived at about 10pm.
Nearby resident Carlee Miller, 37, of Earl Street, was in bed when she heard a loud bang.
"We shot up in bed as the explosion shook the windows," she said.
"When we looked outside we heard another bang before seeing the glow of flames in the sky.
"It was not long before we heard the emergency services arriving.
"I think people were evacuated as I saw a woman and her children in pyjamas running down the street.
"At first I thought it was a house that had gone up in flames, but when I drove down the road the next day I saw the garage was cordoned off."
A spokesman for Humberside Police said: "A police cordon was put in place and a small number of properties were evacuated for a short time, with residents returned to their addresses before midnight.
"A joint investigation between the police and fire services will now take place."