Owner Watches As Fire Destroys His South Boston Auto Business

Halifax Co., VA - A Halifax County man worked his whole life to build his auto repair business, and Tuesday, he watched it go up in flames.

Halifax County Emergency Services officials are investigating the fire that destroyed Beard's Auto Repair in South Boston.

Owner John Henry Beard says a freak accident, while one of his employees was replacing the fuel pump on a car, led to the destruction.

"It meant a lot to me. It's my livelihood," said Beard.

Beard has owned the repair shop on Beard Trail for 16 years. But his dreams of passing the shop on to his children went up in smoke.

Beard was at the shop at the time of the fire, but wasn't hurt. Two employees, though, suffered second and third degree burns.

"When they ran out the door, they was on fire and all. It was just a devastating scene," said Beard.

The Cluster Springs Fire Department was first on the scene, followed by crews from South Boston and Turbeville. The county's investigation is continuing.

"This is just a much larger building and much larger fire than is normal for us," said William Kirby Saunders - Emergency Services Coordinator.

Beard says the hardest part now is reaching out to customers whose cars burned in the fire. Much of their contact information was destroyed too.

"I ain't got no records of nothing. Everything I had was burned up here. Sorry to say that but my computer, all that stuff...everything is gone," said Beard.

Now Beard is using a positive attitude and faith in God to help him move forward.

"The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh. He's still going to be with me. I leave it to the Lord's hands. I'm blessed."