Classic Chevys Destroyed in Barn Fire

It’s always difficult to see classic cars destroyed, whether it is due to accident, Mother Nature or some other circumstance. Most of us cherish older vehicles because they have survived for decades and are a bridge to the past. We’ve featured cars here on Barn Finds before that have been victims of fires, which is probably one of the most devastating ways a car can be damaged. Unfortunately, there was a recent fire in Washington County Oregon on that took three more classic cars. Reported here on KGW.com and here on KOIN.com, the fire leveled a barn along with the cars on June 1st, 2019. Thanks to Sabrina L. for the tip on this story.

Here you can see the remnants of the 4,000 square-foot barn along with another outbuilding. The cars destroyed in the fire were a 1967 Chevelle, 1967 El Camino and a 1956 Chevy as well as a utility truck parked beside it. Due to the location of the property, there were no fire hydrants in the area and water had to be brought in to fight the fire. Winds caused the fire to spread to the neighboring property where secondary fires were ignited.

Here you can see how the fire spread to the outbuilding next to the barn. Thankfully, all the fires were extinguished in about an hour and the bulldozer and other farm equipment were spared. The fire is still under investigation. Hopefully, the owner had insurance, but the Chevys are probably lost forever.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Hopefully the owner of these cars had insurance.

    A friend lost his car and house in 2017 when a fire burned his entire subdivision. His 1993 Mustang LX was apart in his garage. He had a policy with Hagerty insurance, he never let it lapse even tough the car had been off the road for two years. They paid him his stated value on the car, plus more than $3,000 for parts he had bought but had not yet installed. He said dealing with them was hassle and wrote him a check for over $20,000 to settle his claim. It shows the importance of protecting yourself and thinking ahead, most people would have cancelled their policy when the car was laid up for an extended period of time, they then would have been left with nothing more than a pile of warped metal and melted aluminum.

    Steve R

    13
    • Fred w

      Steve R- did you mean to say “hassle free”?

      I have the same company, good to know they will pay up.

      10
      • Steve R

        Yes, thank you, I meant to write hassle free. I should do a better job of proof reading.

        Steve R

        17
  2. stillrunners

    Lost a 40 year collection of stuff in 2017….lighting struck a tree…the storm went down the road and spawn a tornado in Canton,Tx that night….funny thing we had just come in from the Pate Swap meet…..stuff can be replaced.

    2
  3. Suttree

    Reggie Jackson lost a great collection of classic Chevys to fire years ago.
    I’ve always wanted to see a list of what was lost.

    4
    • TED WALTHER

      I hope one of them wasn’t Reggie’s 1969 ZL1 Camaro!

  4. Dustin Lisner

    that’s not a 56 it’s a 57, gut wrenching either way

    3
    • TimM

      Do you think you know me sandy claws????
      I run three business!! Have put two of my children through collage!! The third one is a senior in high school!! Like I said most of my cars are from sweat equity!! I look for good deals and make the car my way!! I feel bad for these people that lost their classics!! Weather they built them or bought them!! There’s an old saying if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all!!!

      2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Yep, a ’57 for sure.

  5. Ken Member

    Too bad the Case IH combine and Cat D4 didn’t burn up instead. They’re a dime a dozen compared to the cars.

    4
  6. Camaro Joe

    Most of the well known collector car insurance companies are easy to deal with when you have a loss. Their loss rate is so low that they don’t hassle you, just write a check for the agreed value.

    A friend had J. C. Taylor insurance and his car got hit. They told him to take it to the best shop he could find and buy the best parts he could get. They paid everything with no questions and called him back several times to see if everything went OK.

    The guy who owns the local glass shop had a friend 35 miles from here who lost a nice 69 Z/28 Camaro. He left his brother in law with his house keys to water the plants and feed the fish when he left on vacation. The brother in law found the Camaro keys and decided to go for a ride. Knowing how to drive a stick shift and dealing with a seriously fast car isn’t the same, so it didn’t end well. It was a front end collision, NFG.

    The front end of the Camaro was toast, but maybe fixable. Hagerty totaled it and wrote a big check. The owner figured the numbers matching drive train was worth enough money that Hagerty would send a truck for it. They said “No, we don’t want it,” so he took it and had a new front clip put on it. The car got fixed and he had many thousands in pocket. He didn’t want it to happen, but having “mostly the same car” plus a ton of cash isn’t a terrible outcome.

    I always buy to best insurance I can get. Insurance isn’t a guarantee, it’s a “promise to pay if something happens.” If the company looks at a big claim and doesn’t want to pay, all they have to do is refuse the claim and all you can do is sue them. Since they have lawyers on retainer and you’re paying a lawyer out of your pocket, they have more money than you do and they’re going to run you out of money and they win in the end. The classic car insurance people almost never do that.

    6
    • Brakeservo

      Basically in a garden variety disputed auto claim, the policyholder can demand arbitration and if the customer is on solid ground, they should prevail. You don’t just jump in and sue.

    • Mountainwoodie

      I second that.

      In my case it is Chubb Insurance and I can’t say enough about them. When I was unfortunately T-boned about twenty years ago in my Woodie, they paid me the agreed upon value and didn’t insist upon a salvage title. The only caveat I would add, is depending on the market, update your Agreed Upon Value periodically. In today’s hyper inflated parts and auction atmosphere it will pay dividends ( pun intended :))

      3
  7. Bill McCoskey

    Camaro Joe,

    How right you are! Over the last 50 years I’ve had a few minor losses concerning vintage cars, we had used well-known insurance companies, and all were hassle free.

    About 25 years ago my restoration shop was hit by a huge lightning strike and the resulting fire destroyed 16 rare cars, and damaged dozens of others, along with 4,500 square feet of shop and parts dept. Good thing I had a commercial insurance policy to cover everything.

    But when I submitted a claim, it was denied because of a well-hidden clause in the policy. Took the insurance company to court, but lost due to the judge considering the case a “contract case”, indicating the contract [policy paperwork] required a special fire rider that not even my agent was aware of. [Judge said I needed a new agent!]

    So I have to agree that the bigger insurance companies, when faced with large claims, WILL do anything to keep from paying a claim.

    2
  8. David Frank David Frank Member

    What happens when your cherished old car’s body panels and other bits come away from a crash smooshed and beyond repair? A cool thing about Hagerty is that they have a guy that travels around to auto swap meets looking for parts to repair customer’s classic cars. He knows parts, lots of people and just where to look for those impossible to find treasures. It may take a while, but that hard to find bumper or door will make its way to the body shop and it will be correct and usable.

    4
  9. ACZ

    Lightning hits are severe and last only a second. I had a lightning protection system installed on my home and my shop a few years ago. Well worth the investment!

    1
  10. Mike Nixon

    Is that a BLOWER sticking out of the hood on the Chevelle?

    1
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Something appears to have been stacked high on the motor, and I think you may be right. Bummer to lose any car this way, but something you have sweat over (and maybe made really fast) just plain hurts!

  11. Burger

    The good side and the down side of ownership of cars like Malibus, Novas, Cameros, Mustangs, etc. is they made zillions of them, zillions owned them, have a nostalgic attachment to them, and as a result, they survived in large numbers. Lets say your 1958 Impala ragtop got creamed. No problem. Shop around for the color and equipment you like. They survive in large numbers. But if your 1958 DeSoto Fireflite convertible was destroyed. 474 made, 6 documented survivors …. good luck on that repair/replacement. No amount of money produces stuff that just doesn’t exist.

    5
  12. Bill McCoskey

    Burger,

    There is truth in what you said. When my place burned, the following cars were total toast:

    32 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Hooper sport saloon
    35 Rolls-Royce 20/25 James young limo
    35 Rover type 12 Tickford sport
    41 Cadillac convertible coupe
    48 Packard 6-cylinder taxicab [very rare]
    50 Packard Super Deluxe convertible
    62 SAAB 850GT, ex-factory rallye car
    69 Chevelle 2-door hardtop with factory A/C, 396, 4-speed

    And more . . .

    2
  13. JagManBill

    We all have our stories. We had a fire in 08 that consumed the house, shop and everything within 50ft of the house. Lost a 62 Austin Princess, 69 E Type, 76 Zink Z-12 FV, 65 Zink Z-4 (The Daytona SR), and a 57 Mk1 Jag. Badly damaged were my Son-in-Law’s Gen 2 Eclipse, Daughters 74 914LM (creme-cicle), 68 Zink Z-8 VSR, 74 Zink Z-12 FV prototype, and 30+ years of Jaguar parts collecting.
    Insurance didn’t cover any of it. If you don’t have Hagerty or a similar collector policy, make sure you home-owners covers non-op or stored vehicles without an in-place auto policy. Our estimated uninsured losses were $492,000 between the cars, shop, parts and tools (insurance company said I had too much “stuff” just for home use so they said it was a business and didn’t cover it)

    5
  14. TimM

    I really can’t see anything good even insurance money from a situation like this!! Many of the cars I have is not because I’m wealthy!! There from sweat equity!!! Yes indeed!! Hours apon hours being in the garage!! Parts coming in from different suppliers!! Always looking forward to getting it done!!! Anyone who does this knows it’s a labor of love and it takes a certain persistence to complete!!! I hate stories like this but if there is no loss of life it’s the best thing!! God bless him!!!

    1
    • Sandy Claws

      I thought you were so poor from property taxes that you ate cat food on your toast in the morning. Now you suddenly are so flush with cash you have collector car(s)? Hmmm, what gives?

      2

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