$1.5 million in damages reported after Riverside VW business, multiple vintage cars destroyed by blaze

RIVERSIDE, Calif., — A well-known VW repair and restoration business that has been serving the Riverside community since 1976 was destroyed by a swift-moving fire that tore through their building Wednesday evening, Feb. 9. The business has since been identified as CarCraft, a business touted for their high-performance VW engines and their German Auto Service, which specializes in both partial and complete VW restorations.

Although the fire was contained in less than an hour, officials have estimated that the blaze caused approximately $1.5 million in damages to the building and its contents. 


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City of Riverside Fire Department personnel were dispatched to the 1700 block of Palmyrita Avenue around 7:10 p.m. after receiving the report of an active commercial structure fire.

Official radio traffic at the time indicated that when the call for service was dispatched, other firefighters working at the scene of a separate and unrelated palm tree fire on La Cadena Drive reported seeing flames and a large plume of smoke billowing into the sky.

Firefighters are seen surveying the extensive damage caused by a fire that resulted in $1.5 million in losses and damages to a building and numerous classic Volkswagens and other vehicles at Riverside’s CarCraft last night. Lone Wolf News and Media photo

The first firefighters to arrive at the scene reported finding flames pouring from the business’s roof, as well as from multiple sides of the building, at which time the first due company officer “chose a defensive strategy due to the heavy fire conditions presented,” Riverside Fire Department has since reported.

Firefighters spent the next 40 minutes extinguishing the blaze, with containment reported at 7:47 p.m. However, crews remained on scene for several hours for extensive overhaul and mop-up.

City Fire Investigators later responded to the scene to determine the possible cause and origin of the fire, but they had not made a determination of cause as of last night’s initial incident fact sheet release, which reported, “Due to the severe damage sustained by the building and the heavy fire load the cause was deemed undetermined at this time.

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Speaking from the scene, the business’s owner said the building featured a showroom and mechanic’s shop containing numerous vintage Volkswagens dating from the 50s and 60s which he described as having “significant value”, along with thousands of dollars of tools and equipment.

No citizen or firefighter injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, and no further details have been released.

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Lone Wolf News and Media photos above, video below.

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Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.