GoFundMe page,”Fire destroys Patrods. I lost everything! In an electric fire, she wrote. Jim and Sue grew up in the East End and have spent their lives giving back to this community. Now is the time to help them and give them back. They lost everything in the barn with this fire. Nothing can be saved. Anything you can donate is greatly appreciated.”
According to the Riverhead Fire Department, at 9:10 PM on November 12, they were sent as mutual aid to 1795 Main Road in Jamesport for a hull fire. This address is the address where the Batrodz Resurrection Garage is located, according to records.
“First responding units found a potato barn completely involved,” Jamesport firefighters said. The Jamesport Fire Department was assisted by the Riverhead Fire Department at the scene, along with the Mattetoc Fire Department. The Riverhead volunteer ambulance stood by in case of any injuries, and the Flanders-Northampton Fire Department stood by the Jamesport fire station, fire officials said.
The scene of the accident has been turned over to the Riverhead Fire Chief for investigation, the Riverhead Fire Department said, adding that the fire was put out at around 11:30 p.m.
When they arrived, fire was burning through the roof, which had collapsed, said Steve Bell, former chief of the Riverhead fire department.
Batrodz Resurrection Garage owner James Benken said he hasn’t done any form of business for clients in a few years. “This barn was only used for my personal storage and for my project constructions,” he said.
In the days following the fire, friends and fellow car enthusiasts not only mourned the heartbreaking loss, but offered to help Benken excavate his life’s work and passion from the charred rubble.
Showing a Facebook video of the body of the burnt 1966 Gotham Roadster No. 70 recovered from the charred remains of his dream late last week, Behnken wrote: “This is what our day consisted of. Thanks to everyone who came to help me get everything out. You’ll never know how much I appreciate the help.” and support.”
Sunday night, after a weekend of struggling to save something, anything, from the ashes, Banken was left disappointed. “We cleaned all the cars yesterday. Quite a few showed up to help. It was horrible to see the cars wrecked. I was hoping I could salvage at least one car. There was absolutely nothing that could be fixed.”
His favorite car in the barn, Beenken said, was a 1986 Buick Grand National. “I’ve had that car for about four years and been restoring it. It’s badly burnt. I could fix that car, but it would cost more than it’s worth, and I don’t have any tools or a place to do the work.” – So I’ll have to cancel it. It’s too bad.”
However, the GoFundMe represents an outpouring of care from those who want to help lift Benken after a devastating loss. He was grateful for the kindness shown by the many interested parties. “Hopefully I can get everything together and find another building and buy more cars,” Behnken said.
He wrote about the fire on Facebook hours after losing everything.
“At about nine o’clock yesterday evening, a fire broke out in my building, which is a complete loss,” he said. “I want to thank the Jamesport, Riverhead, and Mattituck fire departments, the Riverhead Fire Chief’s office, and EMS for responding and trying to help us. I also want to thank all of my friends and family who have reached out to me. It was in that building. It’s been my second home for the past 27 years. To say the least, it’s a devastating loss.”
But he added, “The outpouring from the community is amazing. I had no idea how many people had heard of me and the cars I’d built in the past. I thought I was just another guy in an old barn that no one cared about. I’m shocked.”
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