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Fire destroys shop, classic cars.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

Indar Bhan said a raging fire that destroyed a 3,300-square-foot building outside his northeast Eugene home early Friday could have been much worse.

"It's a pretty big loss, but what's important is that we're all safe," a grim-faced Bhan said after stepping away from the smoldering remains of the structure that housed his "man cave," his children's recreation room and three hot rods, along with a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, a recreational vehicle, several all-terrain vehicles and a gun collection.

While a damage estimate hadn't been calculated Friday afternoon, Lane Rural Fire/Rescue Capt. Chris Heppel said "it's definitely in the hundreds of thousands" of dollars.

Bhan said he called 911 at about 6 a.m., moments after his wife awoke him to say the building - which is about 100 feet from their home in the 28400 block of Kokkeler Road, southwest of the Eugene airport - was ablaze.

Heppel said he arrived at the scene about nine minutes after Bhan's call, and immediately realized that he'd be needing plenty of help to extinguish the fire.

"Half of the roof had already collapsed, all the windows were broken out and 30-plus-foot flames" shot into the sky, Heppel said. "It had been going for a while," he added.

Heppel said firefighters believe the fire sparked somewhere in the garage portion of the structure. Its cause remained under investigation Friday afternoon.

Bhan, whose family moved to Kokkeler Road about 12 years ago, said the property is insured. "We'll have to rebuild it," he said of the building leveled by the fire.

Although virtually everything inside the structure was destroyed, the first items fire officials mentioned as being lost were three classic cars. The vehicles - a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda, a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and a 1969 Ford Mustang convertible - "were all sweet cars," Bhan said.

Heppel said that after realizing they couldn't save the building, firefighters moved several ATVs, a boat and a horse trailer away from the burning structure, and made sure flames didn't spread to any surrounding property.

Crews from the Santa Clara Fire District and Lane County Fire District No. 1 helped Lane/Rural firefighters extinguish the blaze.

Bhan and his wife, Heidi, own Island Fence & Window Guard near Junction City.
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Title Annotation:Local News; The building in northeast Eugene also housed a rec room, gun collection and several other vehicles, all lost in the blaze
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 26, 2011
Words:376
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