Campbell River car dealership reopens after fire

The owner of a Campbell River, B.C., car dealership is attributing lessons learned through COVID restrictions with helping his staff continue to operate following a recent structure fire.

Scott Kilby is the dealer principal of Campbell River Hyundai, which was hit by fire on Tuesday which started inside a maintenance garage.

"When the firemen came and put out the fire they hit it hard, so water of course seeps through," said Kilby.

"But the main thing is the fire wall stopped the fire from getting past the shop," he said.

Kilby says renovation work will be necessary and the rear of the dealership will need a complete re-build.

He says he's not sure when things will get completely back to normal, and credits his employees with coping through a difficult situation.

"The nice thing about COVID is it taught us how to work remotely," he said.

"Right now nobody's really panicking about curbside sales and working from home and responding to customers via text," he said. "The customers are a lot more used to ordering on the phone and talking to us that way."

Kilby says there were only four vehicles that were fire damaged and believes the newness of the building played a big part in helping firefighters minimize damage.

"Our building was built in 2014/15, so it's literally like brand new," he said. "So the fire codes are all up to snuff and it did what it was supposed to."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and Kilby says despite the setback the team has still been selling cars and will keep servicing customers.

"Our receptionist is working out of her home and coordinating calls that way, very similar to what we did through COVID," he said.

Kilby says he's also getting cooperation from other businesses.

"The nice thing is one of our neighbouring businesses has offered us some space for our service department to operate out of, like a hoist and a bay."

The dealership owner wants the public to know they're still carrying on business as best they can.

"My team is strong and we're ready to take on the challenge," he said.

"We're going to all stay positive and do the best we can each day."