LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Another fire in Central Arkansas caused massive damage this week, but it wasn’t across acres of land. Just six parking places.
Firefighters say it takes four minutes for a blaze to completely total a car as it did at Donnie’s Foreign Car Service in West Little Rock, and while the flames consumed one luxury vehicle Wednesday night, five others were caught in the crossfire.
Around 10:45 P.M. Donnie Van Patter got a call he’ll never forget.
The owner of Donnie’s Foreign Car Service said, “This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in business.”
For 35 years car repairs have been Donnie’s bread and butter, but they were melting just like butter when he pulled up.
“Firetrucks and 15 firemen running around spraying foam everywhere. You’re just like going this is a bad dream,” Donnie remembered.
Wildfires have been fairly common across the natural state recently, but Donnie feels this couldn’t have been natural.
“I realized what’s on fire, and we’re just trying to figure it all out,” Donnie stated. “Allegedly maybe one car was put to fire and then it spread.”
The fire started from a Range Rover that was parked in the same place for days. The Little Rock Fire Department is investigating the cause but could not release any details when we called Friday afternoon.
Each luxury car caught in the fire belonged to a customer.
One Land Rover was even ready to pick up the evening of the fire, but the owner decided to wait until the morning.
It was a costly decision because Donnie estimates $200K worth of damage between these six cars. Four were totaled. Two have minor body damage which can be repaired.
When asked what he is telling his customers, Donnie laughed to himself and said, “Exactly what I told you. It’s a mishap. It’s out of our control.”
“Although it’s not a life. It’s a car. Still, people love their cars,” Donnie concluded.