B.C. man devastated after 37 classic, rare cars destroyed in fire

B.C. man devastated after 37 classic, rare cars destroyed in fire

Langley resident Garry Cassidy says many vehicles he lost are irreplaceable

Garry Cassidy feels like he lost 37 loved ones in a devastating fire in the early morning hours of Oct. 25.

The Milner resident was in Palm Springs when he found out that his 10,000-square-foot shop went up in flames, and inside of it, 37 classic and rare vehicles were completely charred.

It took Cassidy 17 years to collect the vehicles.

The fire happened on Cassidy’s property along the 7200 block of 216 Avenue in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Fire Destroys Classic Car Collection in Langley

“We got a phone call at 3:39 on Wednesday morning,” Cassidy told the Times as he stood in front of the burned remains of his car collection.

On the other line was a representative from the security company, who told Cassidy that there was a break-in and a fire alarm and that RCMP and the fire department had been called.

Cassidy said his wife Darlene went on the couple’s iPad and “goes onto our security camera and there was nothing.”

“And we went, ‘Oh my God, this can’t be good,’” Cassidy shared.

Five minutes later, a friend of the couple went to the shop and then called them with the bad news.

“He phoned me and said, “It’s not good,’” Cassidy said.

The oldest car on the shop was a 1931 Ford two-door sedan; his prized possession was a one-of-a-kind 1961 Bel Air convertible.

“Most of my cars were General Motors products,” Cassidy said.

“There’s collectors and there’s flippers. We were collectors. We hardly ever got rid of anything we bought, and this is how we ended up with these many cars.”

The cars and the shop are insured, but the emotional damage has taken a toll on Cassidy.

“It’s not about the insurance,” Cassidy said. “Somebody said, ‘Oh, he probably started it on fire because the market’s down.’ It’s not about the insurance.”

His voice cracking, Cassidy pointed to what was left of one of the cars. “A million dollars wouldn’t replace that car because it’s the only one on the world.

“I had a ’61 Impala convertible, but I can’t tell you it was the only one in the world because it wasn’t. That Bel Air was the only one in the world. So that’s what’s really hard.”

He continued, “This Ferrari… they built 100 Ferraris, 355 F1s in ’99 but only 10 in the whole world were in black. That’s one of 10.”

Cassidy said most of his cars had stories. “That’s what I loved about them.”

Asked if he planned to rebuild, Cassidy answered, “Absolutely.”

“This will be up in about six or seven months,” he said. “I always say to people, ‘You drive by my place on Saturday morning, if the gate’s open, and if my pickup is parked in front of the shop, come in. I would love you to come and see my cars.”

“I’m only the keeper of them.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the size of the shop.



troy.landreville@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

B.C. man devastated after 37 classic, rare cars destroyed in fire

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

A t-shirt designed by Coast Salish artist Bonny Graham (B. Wyse) includes the phrase ‘every child matters’ in a custom font inspired by Coast Salish design.
Chilliwack FC works with Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council on t-shirt fundraiser

The youth soccer organization will sell custom-designed orange shirts, donating proceeds to the SNCC

Wilma’s Transition House Charity Golf Tournament takes place Aug. 21, 2021.
Buzz building for 2021 Wilma’s Transition House Charity Golf Tournament

The key fundraiser for the non-profit will be held Aug. 21 at the Cultus Lake Golf Course

Special weather statement issued for Fraser Valley as first summer heat arrives June 20, 2021, and set to persist all week. (Photo by James Day on Unsplash)
Second day of hot temperatures rippling across Fraser Valley

Communities from Abbotsford to Hope will see daytime high maximum temps of 32 degrees

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 following an assault. (File photo)
Trial underway in February 2020 death of White Rock senior

Ross Banner charged with manslaughter following Five Corners altercation

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read