Auto shop

Southeastern auto store in recovery mode after devastating weekend fire

A dozen cars were damaged and the rear of the building collapsed in a fire at Temple Hill Automotive on Sunday afternoon.

SAN ANTONIO – On Monday, the high-pitched whine of power tools replaced the roar of flames at a southeast auto repair shop, as members of the family business went into recovery mode after a devastating fire over the weekend. end.

James Otto, one of the owners, said seven of the 12 people who work at Temple Hill Automotive are related.

While some cleaned the soot from the devices, others swept the mud off the ground, and construction workers brought in welding equipment to create a new way to secure the fire damaged building.

The owners say the store has served customers on Goliad Road for 68 years.

“My dad was in business in 1947 on South Presa Street and he built this place in 1953, and he moved here when there was nothing else,” Otto said. the south side.

But around 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the mechanics needed a big repair.

Firefighters believe that some sort of electrical malfunction in the building, which was unoccupied at the time, caused a fire that destroyed much of the store and at least three cars inside in the service bays. The paint job on another car was left in blisters, and several other vehicles will need a thorough cleaning.

As the fire ravaged the roof, more than 20 fire units joined the fight, but the fire was so intense that parts of the roof collapsed.

Firefighters cut ventilation holes in bay doors and attacked the fire from aerial platforms when the danger of an offensive surge grew too great.

Otto said a firefighter who knew a family member called them at the house to tell them about the loss.

“When we got here Goliad Road was closed and it took them about two hours to put out the fire,” Otto said.

Family members agree that the care they have provided over the years is being repaid in kindness, now that the black smoke has cleared and the work of rebuilding is underway.

Otto says help started pouring in almost immediately.

“A client brought us a lot of money to feed the employees. Everyone has been really generous. Neighborhood cafeterias and stuff, they brought us food from all directions, ”said Otto.

Otto said the hearts of the family were touched when a minister also showed up.

“A preacher came early this morning and said prayers,” he said, adding that they felt better for the effort.

“We’re trying to recover and redo and change things as we go,” said Otto. “The boys are working on cleaning things up right now and we’re just waiting for the insurance guys to get on with it.”

Otto said they had already found ways to secure what the fire had not destroyed and that they would clean up the parts of the building that had not been gutted as soon as possible.

Otto said he didn’t know when they would resume their activities, but said they were working hard to make this dream come true.