• Man learns his truck destroyed in fire while watching Ch. 9

    By: Tenikka Smith


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Fire damaged a north Charlotte auto body shop and one man said he found out his truck was inside the burning building while watching Channel 9.

    Fire investigators said an unattended battery jumper box charging a vehicle led to the fire Wednesday night.
    It started in the shop area, which appears to be in the middle of the building at R&J Auto Solutions where Channel 9 saw the bulk of the damage.

    Read past coverage: Investigators: Battery jumper box sparked body shop fire

    R&J is one of three auto repair shops leasing space in the building on Atando Avenue. 
    Gregory Stokes said he dropped his truck off at R&J just hours before the fire.
    “I was just getting the speedometer fixed, about a $100 worth of work and then I was watching Channel 9 on the news and they was like, ‘You got a fire.’ I was like, ‘My truck is over there,’” Stokes said.
    Hani Awad owns Action Motors Dealership down the street and said his business had several cars being worked on that were destroyed.
    “Five thousand dollars, $5,500 a car, so four cars. That’s about $20,000 and they're gone. They're not fixable,” Awad said.
    Channel 9 spoke Alex Vinnikov, the man identified as the owner of the property but he couldn't say much about the fire or what's will happen with his tenants and their customers.
    “Some stuff enflamed but it’s not job of fire marshals,” Vinnikov said.
    A man leasing space in the front and back of the building said he only had some smoke and water damage and hoped to reopen his body shop soon.
    Stokes said he didn't get much info from the owner on the scene, so he called his insurance company and decided to have his trucked towed away.
    “I’m trying to figure out how to talk to my insurance company to get some stuff done,” Stoke said.
    Investigators said the fire cause $115,000 in damage.

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