Haines Junction's only auto shop goes up in flames

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Haines Junction's only auto shop goes up in flames

When Mike Crawshay closed up his auto shop in Haines Junction on Wednesday, he didn't know it would be for the last time. The next morning, he arrived to watch his 30-year business burn up.

Crawshay says he got a call early Thursday from a neighbour, who had noticed the fire at Kluane Machine. The neighbour also called the fire department.

"I ran out with a set of keys to see if I could get my vehicle out of the shop," Crawshay said. "I just opened the door and it was a wall of smoke."

Crawshay says there were two vehicles inside the shop — one belonging to a customer, one his own — as well as two motorcycles.

He closed the door and scrambled to move vehicles away from the building, while waiting for fire fighters to arrive.

Crawshay says he also lost "every piece of automotive repair equipment that I've accumulated over the last 30 years," including hoists, drill presses, welders and "thousands and thousands of dollars of hand tools."

​​The Haines Junction Volunteer Fire Department confirmed that it received a call at 6:40 a.m. local time. It had 12 volunteers on site, who were still there hours later monitoring the smoldering remains.

It's not known yet what caused the fire.

Jeannine St. Marie, who lives within view of the shop, watched the fire this morning and posted a video online. She says losing the only auto and welding shop in town is "a big deal for us here. A lot of people rely on his shop."

She says now people will have to be towed to Whitehorse, 160 kilometres away. 

"There's just a lot of extra costs associated with not having our mechanics and our welding done right here in town.

"It's a sad day. I'm just really, really glad that it was only his shop — that him and his wife are okay."