11:27 AM PST, January 30, 2013
HALIFAX CO, Va.
Growing a business can be tough, losing it in one night can be even harder.
That's what happened last night when a fire leveled a family owned car repair shop in Southern Virginia.
" This is my way of life. It's all gone," said John Henry Beard, owner of his namesake John Henry's Auto Repair Shop.
A lifetime of work up in smoke.
Twisted tool boxes, scorched fire extinguishers and four cars, including this BMW are all that remain at John Henry's Auto Repair Shop in Halifax County.
What was his baby, of sorts, is now barely a shell of a garage.
"It was no put together place," Beard said. "Jacks, three lifts, I mean, I'm just at a loss right now."
Beard was in this location for 16 years and believes he lost well over one million dollars worth of equipment. He wasn't able to save anything.
Beard says his brother and a worker were repairing this van when the fire started.
They both were taken to the hospital with first and third degree burns.
"Had the gas tank sitting up on the jack, and the jack fell and gas went all in the floor." Beard said. "They hit the drop cord, and the drop cord hit the floor and that's what started the fire."
Beard had gone to his house next door for a hose to spray off extra gasoline in the building when he saw the explosion.
"It's like the bottom fell out of everything. It's a tremendous loss. Thank the Lord I'm still here," Beard said.
Pieces of an old Chevrolet Chevelle Beard kept to rebuild the car now are unusable.
"That's my whole livelihood right there," Beard said.