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Fire Disaster in St Louis

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#1
Bench Racer

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Disaster!!!
The warehouse where I (poster Lynn) rent shop space caught fire at 2pm. The Reynard, its trailer, the original Darth Vee, Johnny Billingsley's old Zink and my beloved 1968 AMX are all destroyed. Also gone are all the spares for the cars, and all my tools and support equipment. It could be worse. Steve Scheifler lost several rental Spec Miatas, an IMSA GTU RX-7, two race prepped Datsun 510's, a stock 510 which was his first car. He also lost a Dyna_Pak dyno. Other people lost a Van Deiman FF, and Lotus Europa and several antique cars.

The building is huge old cotton warehouse with 20 bays. Each bay is about 115' x 180'. I rented space in the third bay from the top of the pic. https://www.google.com/maps/place/St...!4d-90.1994042 My space was just inside the east door.

The fire stated in Bay 4. Someone was welding on a car and set it on fire. The buildings extensive fire sprinkler system failed. The person attempted to push the burning car out the back of the bay through the overhead door on the west side of the building. He failed. He then called the fire department and told them the rear of the bay was on fire. Unfortunately, the fire hydrants are in front of the building so the fire trucks had to go to the front and the firefighters had to drag hoses through the building to the fire. They fought the fire in bay 4. There is speculation that if they let bay 4 burn while trying to prevent it from spreading bay, bays 5, 3, 2 and 1 might not have burned.

At least the blue solo vee and its trailer were are Solo Performance Specialties.

https://www.kmov.com....a3da77868.html If you go full screen on the smaller video you will see bay 3 full involved.

https://www.ksdk.com....a-966fa91d3161

 

So sorry to read this Racers.


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#2
chris haldeman

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Shit that is terrible news.
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#3
Jim Drago

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I have been talking with Steve, it really is terrible news. I Believe Steve had his NSX supercharged car and everything else he had car related in his shop. It is really sad news :( 


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#4
lillyweld

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That is the worst of all of our fears. I am so sorry to hear about this. It's truly crushing. I am in Henderson, Kentucky, not too far away. I don't know what I can do to help from here, but I can get there pretty quickly if you need anything, and any resources I can provide are yours for the asking. 


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#5
Tom Eaton

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My new SM build and tools were in there as well.  This was a really special communal space for racers here and can't be replaced.  There were probably 20-30 race cars in here.  



#6
Tom Eaton

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Before and after

 

IYvPOzG.jpg

 

cpktxnF.jpg



#7
Cnj

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That REALLY sucks.  So sorry to hear this.

 

cnj 


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#8
Steve Scheifler

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Definitely a shame. I’ve been in that shop 18 years, which in itself is hard to believe. It had already been occupied by local racers for a couple years and I desperately needed space for my latest acquisitions. I’d been on a waitlist for awhile because my space at home was packed, so when I committed to buy a truck & trailer one of the sub-landlords took pity on me and cleared a half slot of his own space, which also got me trailer parking outside. We worked in that bay with drop-lights and headlamps for close to a year. But I had first dibs on spaces as they opened and I managed to get a pair of adjacent slots, one with a lift that I purchased from the guy moving out. So of course I had to fill them! And so it went, buying and expanding. Last year I sold off five Miatas, making room to clean up and organize.

Over this winter I bought and built more shelving, bought three small 2-piece rollaround toolboxes so they were at various workstations with related supplies (by the drill presses, hydraulic presses, setup area) and a new large box for all the hand tools relegating the old one to fasteners and electrical. I’ve never been so organized in my entire life. Then I got to work on a nice 1.6 SM that we bought as a spare years ago and never used. Dropped, cleaned, serviced and painted suspension and subframes, painted and insulated the underside, painted the interior. Installed the new Penske kit, my best 1.6 engine, trans and diff. It was ready for the dyno and I guarantee would have been as capable as any 1.6 out there, all it needed was a driver. Meanwhile I was also getting old red #28 ready for another season as a loaner and people were lining up to borrow it. That’s the car that kept Jim honest at the last Majors he ran here, right to the checker. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

I’m sorry to lose those, and the (absolutely beautiful) GTU RX7, and the highly modified NSX, but what I’ll really miss are the 510s. Those are where it all started for me in 1975, and my old 1969 street car with an L20B, flat-top pistons, comp head, slalom cam, SUs, etc. was patiently waiting it’s turn for restoration. And then my first race car, a 1970 B Sedan / GT4 Datsun 510 with a decent history of prior owners on which I did a complete restoration for the 2018 Mitty at Road Atlanta when Datsun was the featured marque, and a 1972 Datsun 510 with the IMSA box flare bodywork, also a very pretty car though I personally am not a fan of “BRE tribute” paint schemes. Back in the day, Datsun Competition was what Mazda Motorsports is today, heavily involved in road racing and supporting grassroots efforts and the biggest tent at the Runoffs with loads of parts if you ran into trouble. I dare say that if they weren’t the inspiration for Mazda they at least did it first.

On a daily basis I’ll miss the dyno most. The DynaPack is SUCH a great tool and capable of so much more than the typical roller dyno. It was a completely unjustifiable expense, even by racing standards, and yet by far the best money I ever spent on the hobby in terms of enjoyment. I liked nothing more than a chance to tune on something new, or old, or odd, carbs or injected, boosted or normally aspirated and was looking forward to many more years of making it available to friends and friends of friends. I had a session scheduled for tomorrow morning with an NA8 enduro Miata and possibly their enduro BMW. Sadly they were the newest members of our little racer’s commune and were also lost.

There were a lot of other cars in there, from a beautiful Model A and a 39(?) Pontiac (?) to a former national autocross championship Lotus Europa. A pair of MR2s (ITB and HP), and a nice HP midget. Tom’s new SM build, an ITR Mustang, ITA 240SX, A bunch of karts, a circle track car, a race boat (the 4-year meticulously restored Chris-Craft had just left !), several Saab 96’s including a recently acquired wagon, the AMX and formula cars mentioned above, a beautiful Alpha GTA (?) vintage racer and an old Fiat spyder. And more that don’t come to mind at the moment or were under covers waiting for a little attention.

I’ve often said that for me race weekends were for racing first, second and third, and there was no fourth. The Sauget race shop was where I relaxed and enjoyed the company of good people. Visitors often remarked on the lack of dividing walls, unlocked toolboxes and all manner of expensive equipment and parts left in the open, entirely different from adjacent bay #4. The explanation was simple, no walls, just respect. If the loss of one thing brings a tear to my eyes, it’s “the race shop”.

Please forgive any typos on this stupid phone, I can’t bear to proofread all that.
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#9
-P-

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That's horrible....


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#10
Rick Worth

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Sorry to hear.



#11
FTodaro

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Steve that is a big loss, and the money part of it is the least of it, I hope that is not the end of the story.


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#12
Caveman-kwebb99

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Sorry to hear about all that Steve. Keep your head up high bad things happen to good people all the time. It doesn't make it any better or easier to take but good people have heart and it takes heart to dig deep and come back from disaster, and I have no doubt you will come back from this. You will be in my prayers.

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#13
trimless

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Sorry to hear about this loss, very sad indeed.  They say that things can be replaced. But it really sucks when you loose something that has been part of your life.


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#14
Alberto

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Wow, this totally sucks.  Sorry for all of your losses.


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#15
Andy Mitchell

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Sounds like it was a really cool place to be involved in. So sorry about the disaster, here's hoping you can gather things back upand keep going. :(


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#16
rgiro

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If the sprinkler systems was properly working, maintained and inspected on a yearly basis, it should have prevented the fire from spreading and sounded an alarm.  There will be Insurance issues.

 

Ralph 



#17
screaming monkey

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As if all of this other covid $#!+ wasn't enough...

I'm so sorry for all of you guys. This is truly a nightmare. So glad everyone is physically ok. The mental part will take a while:(


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#18
MPR22

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To Steve and that others that used that shop, truly sorry for your losses.  Sometimes cars are just tools, but when they become race cars they are so much more.  


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#19
Ben-AdvancedAutosports

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So sorry to hear this.  If there is anything we can do to help please let me know.  (Seriously).  I'm sure I have spare tools, benches, etc... laying around.  I can't imagine the long process it will be to even attempt to rebuild.  Even if it's months from now don't hesitate to reach out.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.


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#20
Tom Hampton

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Damn, Steve... I don't even know what to say. That is just unfathomable and horrible.
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