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Fire Damages Columbia Auto Shop

***UPDATE 8:30 P.M.***Fire investigators say the cause of the fire appears to be accidental. According to officials, Mid-Missouri Auto Works was planning to move. The company was using a generator for electricity, which investigators believe caught on fire.The owner of the building says they shut off the power last week and were trying to get the business evicted.***UPDATE 3:48 P.M.***Columbia Fire Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer says the department is investigating the fire at Mid-Missouri Auto Works.”It’s safe to say it’s under investigation and we have not ruled out anything,” said Fraizer. “We’re looking at all potential causes including accidental and on purpose.”Fire officials say the building had no electricity and the generator in the garage was the only power source.Investigators say the fire caused approximately $75,000 in damages because two cars worth about $25,000 each were in the garage and destroyed in the fire.***ORIGINAL STORY***Columbia emergency crews are responding to a fire at an auto store near Old Highway 63.Firefighters reported seeing heavy smoke and heavy flames coming from Mid-Missouri Auto Works on Monroe Street around 3 p.m. When they arrived, an employee told firefighters there was a generator in the back of a car parked in the garage area. The employee believes that is where the fire started.Fire crews say half of the building was engulfed in flames, but the blaze was mainly contained to the garage area. That area has suffered heavy fire damage.Firefighters at the scene say it is just a coincidence Thursday’s blaze is the second at an automotive store in two days. A fire late Wednesday night damaged Champion Motor Parts on Business Loop 70 East in Columbia.There are currently five engines battling the blaze. Columbia police are at the scene blocking portions of Old Highway 63 and Monroe Street as well as directing traffic.An ABC 17 News crew is at the scene. Continue to check for updates.

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