GRAVENHURST — An explosive fire at an auto repair shop Sunday morning destroyed a vehicle and sent clouds of dark oily smoke spewing across Hwy. 11 South.

Gravenhurst firefighters from Stations 1 and 2 had their hands full May 26 at Dave’s Auto Repair in Kilworthy, after a passerby saw smoke billowing from the shop which has been a local fixture for about two decades.

Crews arrived after the 7:15 a.m. call to find a “deep-seated fire” had already taken hold of the steel clad wood frame structure to the point where it would not be saved, said a fire department release Monday.

“One customer’s car was inside and it was destroyed along with the building,” said Fire Chief Larry Brassard.

“Aside from that, there were four large storage containers of used oil located in the shop. We were concerned about ground water contamination from these, so the decision was made to let that portion of the building burn up rather than having the oil contaminate the ground in the area any further.

“This is a sound tactic in areas that are more environmentally sensitive, which is certainly the case here in Muskoka,” said Brassard.

As an added precaution, the fire department also notified the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change of the incident even though there were no indications that any of the oil had spilled.

Firefighters faced several small explosions throughout the morning as containers of various products were heated by the fire, but there were no injuries.

Fire Department water tankers shuttled water to the site as well as using a small pond on the property for their firefighting needs.

The fire caused an estimated $200,000.00 in damage and is not considered suspicious.

Firefighters were on the scene into the afternoon.

A fire at Dave’s Auto Repair on Hwy. 11 S. Sunday saw firefighters battle a blaze that also included several small explosions as materials heated up.
Firefighters let oil containers burn rather than contaminate the ground, said Fire Chief Larry Brassard. (Photos by Mark Clairmont,