Floor Buffer Triggers Fire That Burns Chevy Dealership

A fire broke out July 18 at a Detroit-area car dealership that severely damaged the building and destroyed 30 cars. All cars belonged to customers.

The video that has been released shows a member of a cleaning crew using a buffer to clean the floors of the garage at the dealership. He accidentally knocks over a gas tank and fuel begins spreading across the floor as he tries to clean it up with his hands. Shortly after, he passes over the fuel with the floor cleaner, and a fire erupts. Flames engulf the worker, the machine and begin spreading across the floor.

In a 911 call, the worker reports that “Shit is blowing up,” and that his arm is severely burned. It should be noted, fire officials say the man was OK and didn’t need any treatment. He reported fuel was leaking out of a gas tank but didn’t mention that he was the one who knocked it over. The dealership released the video to show that the fire was not their fault. The video from local WXYZ news is pretty solid proof of the man cleaning the floor. Police say it was an accident, but that the cleaner should have noticed the gas was spilled.

It’s still unclear what the damage costs will be, but the fire was the largest the city has seen. It took more than 80 firefighters from multiple fire departments and about 2½ hours to get it under control. Buff Whelan Chevrolet is offering loaner vehicles to the customers who lost their cars and will pay for any replacements the dealership’s insurance doesn’t cover. The service center building partially collapsed but the service department employees are back at work at the dealership, with some bringing tools from home to work on cars.