Phil's Automotive and Towing

A Phil's Towing truck sits in front of the burned rubble which is all that is left of the office and mechanics shop of Phil's Automotive and Towing on Second Street in Corning. The business burned to the ground during the early morning hours Monday.

An automotive repair shop that has been in Corning for decades burned to the ground on Monday and the cause is being investigated as suspicious in nature, according to police Chief Jeremiah Fears.

The police department received a call that the business alarm was activated around 2:07 a.m., Dec. 17.

The business’ owner, Earl Peterson said he was notified of the alarm and his son, Mark, responded to check on the automotive and towing office located at 714 Second St.

“Mark called me and said ‘I better get over’ there because the entire office and shop were fully engulfed in flames,” Peterson said.

Corning volunteer firefighters had already arrived but it was too late to save the structure, which was completely destroyed.

Peterson said along with all the office documents, they lost all the equipment in the shop and four vehicles.

“I don’t really know what to say,” he added. “I’m just thankful we are insured.”

Firefighters fought the blaze and conducted clean-up until around 8 a.m. that morning.

Along with the firefighters, Corning police officers also responded to the fire.

“We gathered evidence and made a report that we have turned over to Cal Fire as part of the investigation into the cause of the fire,” police Chief Jeremiah Fears said.

The Corning Fire Department is also taking part in the investigation.

All of the business’ tow trucks remained undamaged from the blaze, as did most of the wrecked or towed vehicles stored on the business’ fenced-in lot.

“In the meantime, our towing business is still open and we are doing business out of the office right across the street, 715 Second St., the old Brown’s Welding shop,” Peterson said.

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