B.C. man devastated after 37 classic, rare cars destroyed in fire

Langley resident Garry Cassidy says many vehicles he lost are irreplaceable

Garry Cassidy feels like he lost 37 loved ones in a devastating fire in the early morning hours of Oct. 25.

The Milner resident was in Palm Springs when he found out that his 10,000-square-foot shop went up in flames, and inside of it, 37 classic and rare vehicles were completely charred.

It took Cassidy 17 years to collect the vehicles.

The fire happened on Cassidy’s property along the 7200 block of 216 Avenue in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Fire Destroys Classic Car Collection in Langley

“We got a phone call at 3:39 on Wednesday morning,” Cassidy told the Times as he stood in front of the burned remains of his car collection.

On the other line was a representative from the security company, who told Cassidy that there was a break-in and a fire alarm and that RCMP and the fire department had been called.

Cassidy said his wife Darlene went on the couple’s iPad and “goes onto our security camera and there was nothing.”

“And we went, ‘Oh my God, this can’t be good,’” Cassidy shared.

Five minutes later, a friend of the couple went to the shop and then called them with the bad news.

“He phoned me and said, “It’s not good,’” Cassidy said.

The oldest car on the shop was a 1931 Ford two-door sedan; his prized possession was a one-of-a-kind 1961 Bel Air convertible.

“Most of my cars were General Motors products,” Cassidy said.

“There’s collectors and there’s flippers. We were collectors. We hardly ever got rid of anything we bought, and this is how we ended up with these many cars.”

The cars and the shop are insured, but the emotional damage has taken a toll on Cassidy.

“It’s not about the insurance,” Cassidy said. “Somebody said, ‘Oh, he probably started it on fire because the market’s down.’ It’s not about the insurance.”

His voice cracking, Cassidy pointed to what was left of one of the cars. “A million dollars wouldn’t replace that car because it’s the only one on the world.

“I had a ’61 Impala convertible, but I can’t tell you it was the only one in the world because it wasn’t. That Bel Air was the only one in the world. So that’s what’s really hard.”

He continued, “This Ferrari… they built 100 Ferraris, 355 F1s in ’99 but only 10 in the whole world were in black. That’s one of 10.”

Cassidy said most of his cars had stories. “That’s what I loved about them.”

Asked if he planned to rebuild, Cassidy answered, “Absolutely.”

“This will be up in about six or seven months,” he said. “I always say to people, ‘You drive by my place on Saturday morning, if the gate’s open, and if my pickup is parked in front of the shop, come in. I would love you to come and see my cars.”

“I’m only the keeper of them.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the size of the shop.



troy.landreville@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

(PQB News file photo)
Mayor responds after ministry rejects proposed Parksville bylaw to regulate needle distribution

Mayne: ‘These needles are being distributed with no accountability’

Halloween candies ready for trick-or-treaters. (Philip Wolf photo)
PQBeat: Ghouls, goblins, candy, costumes, COVID-19 restrictions and all things Halloween

Podcast: 2020 version of the spooky night promises to be much different

Marcus Walker looks foward to playing his first game with the VIU Mariners men’s soccer team. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach soccer standout will have to wait to make PacWest debut

Walker eager to play first game with VIU Mariners

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Adam Ireton holds his son Weston, along with Kristen and Beckett as they celebrate Weston's last day of treatment for lukemia. (Kristen Ireton photo)
799 days: ‘Super’ Weston defeats cancer

‘Weston is disease-free now, so we will be going into a period of checkups and things until he’s 18’

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

The Comox Valley Airport had a recent flight arrive with a confirmed case of COVID-19. File photo
COVID-19 exposure on flight into Comox

WestJet flight 3315 from Calgary to Comox was identified with a case

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

Most Read