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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Race car destroyed in Cumbria garage blaze

A classic race car was destroyed in a blaze which gutted a Cockermouth garage.

Fairfield garage photo
The fire-damaged Fairfield garage site

Related: Blaze at Cumbrian garage was not suspicious

The main front building of the Fairfield garage at P&R Benn Filling Station on Station Road, was destroyed after a fire broke out on the site on Sunday afternoon.

The company is jointly owned by brothers, with Robin Benn running the Fairfield site and Paul in charge of their Oakhurst garage and filling station in Lamplugh Road, Cockermouth.

Speaking to the News & Star, Paul, 54, said: “The Fairfield site is completely closed, as it is simply not functional.

“We have been in business 30 years this Friday as P&R Benn – it’s not a very good anniversary week for us.”

A female member of staff was “working as usual” serving petrol in the forecourt on Sunday, when she realised there was a fire in adjoining building behind her.

Twenty-five firefighters from Cockermouth, Aspatria, Maryport, Keswick and Frizington tackled the blaze at its height, for which the Benn brothers are extremely grateful.

“We know half of the guys,” Paul said. “Either as customers or people we went to school with.

“We are much appreciative of the boys and would like to thank them for their help.”

Despite the best efforts of all involved, the main building and everything inside was destroyed – including Robin’s beloved classic Ford Capri. The 48-year-old restored the car from scratch and races it about eight times a year at various tracks around the UK.

Paul said: “Robin restored it himself, so it was in beautiful condition. It was quite an expensive car – about £25,000 – and there was probably more than that in it in labour.

“My brother was really upset about the Capri.”

A workshop at the back of the fire-hit site, which Robin used for general servicing and MOTs, was untouched.

“The electrics and telephones run through the front part of the site which has been destroyed,” Paul said. “But we are hoping in the near future that Robin can get his service bay and MOT up and running.”

The brothers are working to help regular customers and those with bookings in the near future. Paul will help to deal with customers at the Fairfield site, and anyone with any queries about a booking can call 01900 826566.

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