Up in Smoke: Port Hope bodyshop burns down

Port Hope Firefighters practice tackling industrial blazes like the one which destroyed half of Eric's Auto Body.

By CRM Staff

Port Hope, Ontario — January 30, 2018 — Late on Thursday night, fire crews from as far away as Cobourg and Hamilton were called to assist with an out-of-control blaze at Eric’s Auto Body in Port Hope. Within an hour, the crews had managed to put out the fire with no injuries.

While town’s fire marshal has announced it will be investigated, there has been no suggestion of criminal mischief. Like many industrial fires, the many chemicals kept in the shop could make a determination about the exact cause quite difficult. As a result, chief firefighter C. Ryan Edgar has asked the police to conduct an investigation.

The owners, Doug and Catherine Chadwick, who live beside the shop, called firefighters after Catherine let the couple’s dogs out into their back yard.

“As soon as opened the door, I saw it and called the fire department,” says Catherine, who does not suspect foul play but rather the victims of “a really sad accident.”

By that point, several vehicles in the shop had already been destroyed, though the Chadwicks will not know the full extent of the damage until the investigation is complete.

“From what we know, about half the building has been destroyed,” says Catherine.

Eric’s auto shop was founded in 1986, and purchased by the Chadwicks in late 2015. While the new owners must now recover from extensive fire damage to their building and equipment, they remain hopeful about the business’ future.

“We aren’t letting this stop us from doing what we do. We have rented a new space and are already up-and-running.”


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