By Ivan Raconteur
Thick black smoke drifted across downtown Lester Prairie last Monday afternoon, emanating from Coachwerks, an automotive business on Hickory Street.
“It’s tough when you try to build up a life here, and it’s all gone in a matter of minutes,” owner Glen Peters said as he shoveled charred debris into a garbage can the following day.
The Lester Prairie and Winsted Fire Departments battled the blaze at the shop.
Lester Prairie Fire Chief Jim Hoof said the blaze was an accidental fire that caused extensive damage to the structure.
Firefighters were able to keep the flames away from the paint room, and there were no issues with hazardous chemicals, Hoof said.
A Chrysler van that was in the garage at the time of the incident was severely damaged by the fire before it could be removed by firefighters with the help of a tow truck from Jerry’s Transmission Service.
The Lester Prairie and Winsted police departments provided traffic control while firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.