Devizes mechanic devastated as fire destroys rare cars
Amateur mechanic Christopher Wills has spoken of his devastation after his workshop was gutted by a fire, causing £20,000 worth of damage to his rare car collection.
Mr Wills, 31, of Longcroft Road, Devizes, had spent four years restoring two cars at his lock-up in Sells Green, only to see his work destroyed by a fire on Friday, along with a family car.
Three industrial units were destroyed in the fire at Hillview Farm, which took six fire crews several hours to put out and forced the closure of the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath for the third time in as many weeks.
The cause is still being investigated, but it is believed to have started in a parked car next to the workshop. It is not being treated as suspicious.
Mr Wills works as a groundsman for Aster housing association, and spent his spare time restoring the two Peugeots. He said: “I found out on Friday afternoon that it was ablaze and went straight down there after work, but wasn’t allowed anywhere near it.
“I know one of the firefighters from Devizes, and I asked him what was going on, and he gave me a consoling hug and said there was nothing left. “At first it didn’t compute, but when we went down there on Saturday to see the aftermath there was total devastation.”
The two Peugeots were destroyed by the fire, along with his Mitsubishi Delica off-road seven-seater. He said: “The Peugeot was a Gutmann Turbo 1 from 1985, which was the only right-hand drive one built in the world, and the other was a 205 from 1989 which was immaculate; it was all primed and ready to sell.”
Mr Wills has two children, and his partner is currently expecting their third. The cars and tools were uninsured, as they were kept on private land, and cannot be replaced.
He said: “It’s close to 20 grand that I have lost, with the cars and all my tools. “I’ve spent years working on this, at least three nights every week. It was going to provide a nest egg for the kids.”
His friends and family have rallied round him, setting up an online donations page. He said: “The donations are amazing. It shows that people care a lot. I have got a friend who needs a few little jobs doing on his van, and I want to try to get some more tools and get back on my feet, but it’s hard to think about now.”
Donations can be made at www.fundrazr.com/campaigns/bb1N7