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

Kuterra’s smolts will come from Cermaq hatcheries. (Whole Oceans image)
Cermaq to supply salmon smolts to land-based farm Kuterra

Emergent Holdings, which operates Kuterra, and Cermaq signed a four-year agreement

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Can’t wait for a COVID vaccine? Get the flu vaccine in the meantime, says Dr. Enns

“We’re in a pandemic, and we can’t afford to have dual viral infections.”

Costume Crawl 2018. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Costume Crawl will return from 12-4 p.m. on Halloween

For more information on the Costume Crawl, check out Cafe Guido’s Facebook page.

Junior Canadian Ranger Miguel Catarata was awarded the Lord Strathcona Medal back in 2019 at Port Hardy Secondary School. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Junior Canadian Rangers find new place to meet amidst pandemic

The Port Hardy patrol has historically used the facilities at Port Hardy Secondary School.

Car fire
UPDATE: No injuries, cause of vehicle fire on Hardy Bay Road unknown at this time

Port Hardy Fire Rescue arrived on scene soon after and extinguished the fire.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency due for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

Most Read