Lyons Express Lube & Oil and C&J Service Center re-opened their businesses on Wednesday. Lyons, family-owned shop almost was destroyed the day of the Camp Fire.
But Paul Lyons, the shop’s owner from Paradise lost his house and 15 classic cars.“A lot of them that were to be restored or built they were burned up so people were wondering if we were going to stay and go ahead and open for business. We’re ready for people to come in again and if they can take the extra time to come in from the outlying areas to get their car serviced we’re going to try to stay open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, “he said. “As long as people keep coming in we’re going to be here.”
Lyons stayed at the shop until 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 8, the fire came through and the fireman ran out of water, he took buckets of water to put out the spot fires on the trailer, the back of the building, the front of the building and in the field near his business he said.
He stayed at his shop for 14 hours the day of the fire.
“I continued to stay and one of the sheriff’s said that I wasn’t allowed to stay here, I used to be a fireman for 12 years so they said if you want to stay with them you can do that,” he said. “I was glad they did, I was able to save the place because it would have caught on fire in the back.”
The fireman had their hoses out but they had no water to put on it he added. He saved the shop with a garden house and buckets to put out the sparks and spot fires.
On the first day that Lyons reopened the four employees have serviced about 10 cars.
“A lot of repeat customers have been coming in for 10,20, 30 years and now their kids are coming in and they’re glad that we made it and they’re able to come back and get their oil changed,” he said. “It’s like my wife said that it’s like women with hair dressers they like to go to the same hair dresser, the same doctor, the same oil change place. They feel confident in us and we’ve been able to maintain their cars for as long as 30 years now.”
The shop accepts cash and checks but credit cards are not yet accepted. Lyons Express Lube & Oil, located on 5605 Almond Street, is open Mondays through Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.C&J Service Center’s owner Cecil Cooper, who is from Stirling City also stayed to save his business the day of the fire.
“I consider myself lucky, most of this town took a heck of a hit, “Cooper said. “But I survived, I stayed here and kept the fire from hitting this building.”
On the day of the fire a customer called him and told him that she needed to evacuate and needed her car. He drove the car to her house and her house was burning.
“It took me one hour to get from her house by (Adventist Health) Feather River Hospital back to (his shop),” he said. “I watched the traffic get really bad and by the time I was going to leave the fire was hitting here, I just grabbed a hose and started putting it out.”
When the traffic started slowing down he started packing up his car, the fire starting burning the side of his business and the fire blew embers into the bank business along the shop’s parking lot.
“I kept putting that out, the telephone pole started burning but I wasn’t worried about that, I was just worried about my building,” he said. “I kept the fire from getting to the retaining wall and I kept doing that around the building until I ran out of water.”
He was spraying water over his retaining wall to keep it from spreading he added.
Cooper was dragging three 50 feet hoses along his property and did not have enough water or pressure to get the fire out but he could keep the fire from getting hot and climbing he noted.
He said he is trying to reopen today because the shop does not have water from PID, natural gas and Comcast for internet. He has rigged through other methods to have all the services except the natural gas and he is using propane for heat he said.
He has customers that are living in Oroville, Chico and Orland but were customers prior and are coming up from where they are staying currently.
Today he had four customers stop in to service their cars and to order parts for future repair.The services at the shop do not include smogs, automatic transmissions, window gas, auto body and paint.
“I was planning on upping the prices before the fire and I might up it a little but I’m not going to be gauging the people I’m going to be keeping same services I’ve been doing for the last two years,” he said. “I’m here to serve my customers.”
He also is renting U-Haul trucks out to the public if needed. The hours for U-Haul are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The auto shop is receiving all forms of payments. C&J Service Center, is located at 541 Pearson Road, is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This story, by Amanda Hovik, first appeared on paradisepost.com
Photo credit: Amanda Hovik