Firefighters on ladder truck

By Dale Carruthers, The London Free Press

Fire officials are unable to determine what started a massive blaze that caused up to $2.5 million in damage at a London recreational vehicle dealership.

An early morning fire Dec. 28 destroyed a building housing two service bays at Hully Gully at 1705 Wharncliffe Rd. South.

Ontario Fire Marshal officials have completed their probe and ruled the cause to be undetermined, London deputy fire chief Jack Burt said Wednesday.

“Any time we can’t come to an exact cause, we’ll rule a fire as undetermined,” he said.

“With a fire of this nature, with the sheer destruction that was there, everything collapsing in on itself, the amount of water that was used, it’s very difficult to go in and investigate and come to an exact cause, just based on the size of the building and the materials inside.”

Nearly two dozen firefighters battled the blaze that started about 4:30 a.m. One firefighter was sent to hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Damage to the building that stored motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles was estimated at $500,000, while the value of contents lost was between $1 million and $2 million, fire officials said.

Several Hully Gully customers who had property stored in the destroyed building say they were shocked to learn they’ll have to file insurance claims to recoup their losses.

Bill Beekx, whose new motorcycle was in storage at Hully Gully, said he received a call from staff two days after the fire saying the bike was destroyed.

“I haven’t even started it,” he said of the Yamaha motorcycle he bought for $17,000 in November and was storing until the spring.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be a deductible . . . will my insurance rates go up because I’m putting in a huge claim of $17,000?” Beekx said.

Hully Gully owner Randy Collins confirmed that customers who lost property in the fire were told to file insurance claims.

“That’s the standard procedure,” he said, adding his business will work with customers to cover deductibles.

Most of the property lost in the fire was inventory, including motorcycles, snowblowers, lawn mowers and ATVs, Collins said.

“My own boat was in there,” he said.

Hully Gully began cleanup on the site this week after it was released by fire investigators, said Collins, who plans to rebuild the razed building.

Despite the large-scale damage, Collins said he’s grateful fire­fighters were able to stop the flames from spreading.

“We were so thankful that the main building didn’t burn.”

Source: Hully Gully fire cause ‘undetermined’