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Two Shop Owners Save Businesses in Calif. Fires

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Jan. 7, 2019—Two auto shop owners saved their businesses during the Nov. fires that rolled through California. Lyons Express Lube and Oil and C&J Service Center of Paradise, Calif., re-opened their businesses after the family-owned shops were almost destroyed during the fire, Paradise Post reports. 

“A lot of them that were to be restored or built they were burned up so people were wondering if we were going to stay and go ahead and open for business," said Paul Lyons, owner of Lyons Express Lube and Oil said to Paradise Post. "We’re ready for people to come in again and if they can take the extra time to come in from the outlying areas to get their car serviced we’re going to try to stay open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, “he said. “As long as people keep coming in we’re going to be here.”

Lyons reportedly stayed at the shop for 14 hours during the day of the fire on Nov. 8, Paradise Post reports. According to the publication, when the fire occurred, Lyons took buckets of water to put out fires that sprang up on the trailer, the front and back of the building, and in the field which was located near his business. 

“I continued to stay and one of the sheriff’s said that I wasn’t allowed to stay here, I used to be a fireman for 12 years so they said if you want to stay with them you can do that,” Lyons said to Paradise Post. “I was glad they did, I was able to save the place because it would have caught on fire in the back.”

Lyons saved the shop with a garden hose, Paradise Post reports.

“A lot of repeat customers have been coming in for 10,20, 30 years and now their kids are coming in and they’re glad that we made it and they’re able to come back and get their oil changed,” Lyons said to Paradise Post. “It’s like my wife said that it’s like women with hair dressers they like to go to the same hair dresser, the same doctor, the same oil change place. They feel confident in us and we’ve been able to maintain their cars for as long as 30 years now.”

“I consider myself lucky, most of this town took a heck of a hit, “Cooper said to Paradise Post. “But I survived, I stayed here and kept the fire from hitting this building.”

A customer called Cooper the day of the fire and said she needed her vehicle to evacuate; later, Cooper drove the car to her house to discover her house was burning. 

“It took me one hour to get from her house by [Adventist Health] Feather River Hospital back to [his shop],” Cooper said to Paradise Post. “I watched the traffic get really bad and by the time I was going to leave the fire was hitting here, I just grabbed a hose and started putting it out.”

As Cooper started packing up his car once traffic slowed down, the fire began burning the side of his business. According to the publication, Cooper began spraying water over his retaining wall to keep it from spreading.

“I kept putting that out, the telephone pole started burning but I wasn’t worried about that, I was just worried about my building,” Cooper said to Paradise Post. “I kept the fire from getting to the retaining wall and I kept doing that around the building until I ran out of water.”

Cooper is working to ensure customers have access to his services, Paradise Post reports.

“I was planning on upping the prices before the fire and I might up it a little but I’m not going to be gauging the people I’m going to be keeping same services I’ve been doing for the last two years,” Cooper said to Paradise Post. “I’m here to serve my customers.”

He also is renting U-Haul trucks out to the public if needed, the publication reports.

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