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Fire chars body shop
Officials probe ‘intense’ blaze
body shop fire 2 jd
Little is left standing in the shop. - photo by Jim Dean (previous profile)
Fire officials are investigating an early morning blaze that gutted a body shop in south Forsyth.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said a truck driver reported the fire about 2:50 a.m. Monday at SSR Collision Center on Atlanta Highway near Creamer Drive.

He said the building was engulfed in flames, rising through the roof of the metal building, when firefighters arrived minutes later.

“All indications are that it had quite a head start,” Shivers said.

No one was injured in the fire and no one was inside, however a bird kept in a cage at the business was killed, Shivers said.

He said three vehicles and a motorcycle inside were also destroyed. Six vehicles kept outside the building were salvageable, though some had minor damage.

Shivers said the exterior siding of a restaurant next door was also slightly melted from the heat.

“It was a pretty intense fire,” he said. “It burned very hot, very fast. The roof and some of the walls collapsed in on what remains of the business.”

Fire investigators have not determined if the blaze is suspicious, Shivers said. They are working with the owner’s insurance company.

“It’s going to be a fairly extensive investigation due to the heavy amount of debris and metal in the shell of the structure,” he said.

Adam Stanford works at the shop.

He said the building was fine about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, when he and a small group of people had stopped in after returning from an event.

“The parrot was right over there when we left,” he said pointing to a charred corner of the shop.

Mike Summerlin, a customer, came by Monday to check on his Ford Explorer. The truck was outside, but the heat had melted a headlight and mirror and cracked the windshield.

He had the truck repaired at the shop after a wreck and then brought it back to have something else checked.

“They went above and beyond when they fixed my truck, and treated it like it was their own,” Summerlin said. “I really hope they rebuild.”

A jeep belonging to Evan Cleotelis was also in the building.

Cleotelis said he had been rebuilding it.

“We had it almost ready to go rock crawling, but that won’t happen now,” he said.

Online Editor Jim Dean contributed to this report.