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Midland auto shop reopens 2 years after devastating fire and explosion

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More than two years after a fire and explosion levelled a Midland auto shop, staff are claiming a victory in their efforts to rebuild, reopen and welcome back customers.

With a few new staff and the installation of new signs, Victory Lube Service Centre, located in a plaza at the corner of Yonge Street and County Road 93, is slowly getting back to business after being forced to shut down in November 2021.

"Honestly, the first few weeks were just doors open and deliveries, getting things in, such as my oil equipment, getting things set up," said manager Matthew Elmer.

The explosion happened at a neighbouring business, sending two people to the hospital.

"When the manager came in that morning [and] fired everything up, there was a bit of a spark, an ignition source, and it did start a fire in the building which consumed both us as well as the business next to us," Elmer said.

The fire and explosion that followed resulted from a natural gas leak. An explosion at Speedy Glass in Midland on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021 (Courtesy of Mercedes Charlebois)

Before the fire, the auto stop was servicing roughly 9,000 vehicles a year.

The shop reopened last week, with crews back to work on Tuesday in its brand-new bay.

"We worked with the building owner, and we were able to design the space and tailor it exactly to our needs, which was wonderful, so we were able to bring in the equipment guys to get everything set up exactly for our type of business in this space," Elmer said.

A new building, a new look and all new staff. Four employees in all. Victory Lube staff hope their former customers return now that it's finally back in business.

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