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Fire guts Livingston car repair businessPosted on March 16

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LIVINGSTON - Fire caused extensive damage at an auto repair shop here Thursday morning.

"I don't know what started it," Livingston Fire Chief Jim Mastin said late Thursday. "My gut tells me it was accidental. I really don't think it was arson."

The fire at Vince's Automotive Repair was reported at 10:11 a.m. Firefighters from city and rural departments had it under control about half an hour later but were still dousing hotspots at 11:15 a.m.

Owner Vince Schaefer was injured in the blaze but declined medical treatment, EMT Bob Brown said. The extent of his injuries was unknown.

The fire started in the building's office area, Mastin said. Part of the office was gutted, and the shop area suffered damage as well.

Firefighters had to use caution because of the gas cans, waste oil and other flammable materials in the shop.

"You name it, it's in there," Mastin said.

The business sits at the corner of North Sixth and West Chinook streets, in a residential neighborhood. It consists of a stucco office and storage area and a two-bay steel shop. Mastin said he believes the building and some of its contents are salvageable.

Schaefer could not immediately be reached for comment.

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