Meriden fire destroys building and the classic cars inside

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MERIDEN, Kan. (WIBW) Fire crews battled a fire at High Torque Racing Auto Body and Paint Incorporated in Meriden Wednesday morning.

A fire alarm was called into Jefferson County Dispatch around 3:40 a.m. When they arrived, firefighters noticed the building was fully engulfed in flames.

Several classic cars stored inside the building are torched including a 1967 Buick GS-400 convertible, one of only 421 ever built. Other cars included a '69 Camaro convertible Restomod, a 1957 Chevy and a 1972 convertible.

Kent Hamilton owned the 1969 Camaro convertible for nearly 30 years until he got the devastating phone call Wednesday morning.

"It was done except for the little minor things,” Hamilton said.

Michael Garrison owns the business.

"It started out as a burglary call and we thought the back door was open or something," said Garrison. "So I was running to the shop because of that and when I got there are opened the door it was full of smoke."

Several area fire companies battled the blaze, but the building and cars inside are destroyed. Losses fire officials say could add up to a million dollars.

Garrison opened the shop 12 years ago, specializing in body and restoration of old cars. He says he will rebuild.

"This is what I do,” said Garrison. “This is all I got. This is the only talent I got. I know how to make cars beautiful.”

The State Fire Marshal’s office is assisting Rock Creek Fire with the investigation.

While the exact cause is unknown, they believe it was an accident.

(1969 Camaro convertible destroyed in the fire/Courtesy: Kent Hamilton)
(1969 Camaro convertible destroyed in the fire/Courtesy: Kent Hamilton)