This is quite a sad story. An accidental fire worsen by Storm Imogen decimated 10 highly valuable, and endearing classic cars worth more than US$700,000 at Thorney, Cambridgeshire, UK. The cars belonged to couple Melvin and Susan Dolby who maintain the said vehicles as part of their Classic Wedding Cars business. A 1950 Bentley, 1937 American Studebaker and a 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud were among the vintage vehicles that went up in smoke when a fire broke out in their garage and rapidly spread because of strong winds and the explosion of a fuel tank.
More than 60 fire-fighters were at scene when the fire took place last Monday evening at 6PM GMT. Luckily, the owner did not sustain any serious injury and was taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation.
The couple takes pride on being at the forefront of the wedding chauffeur business in that part of Cambridgeshire and they owe it to their impressive and highly pampered fleet of classic cars that they regard as part of the family. Their website reads: “We are a family run business and can offer a stunning collection of classic and luxury cars for your special day.” True enough, the cars were already considered as part of the family with a specific name given to each of them as noted on their website. Melvin and Susan Dolby dives into their business with such passion and attention to ensure that their customers will have a truly memorable and delightful experience riding their fleet. “We have a car just for you from the timeless classic Austin 12/6 to the sheer luxury of the Bentley & Rolls Royce, all our cars are chauffeur driven, come with complimentary bottle of champagne, a floral corsage for the back window and ribbon detail of your choice,” their site further explains.
When the fire was finally put under control, it was only then that origin of the fire was actually determined, and the extent of the damage was realized. According to the official statement of the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Department, they said that, “The fire had started in the garage and rapidly spread throughout the large garage and to the house owing to the strong winds and a fuel tank becoming involved in the fire. The garage contained a number of cars which were all burnt out.”
Group commander Sean Brown, noted: ‘This was a particularly difficult fire to tackle which was exacerbated by strong winds, cylinders in the garage and the need for a large water supply. We used a relay of fire engines to bring water to the scene from a nearby hydrant and the fire was under control by 10pm. Sadly the fire has completely destroyed the garage, its contents and the adjoining house.’ The incident was declared fire out past 11pm as two fire engines remained at the scene overnight to avoid any ensure the safety of the surrounding areas.
The fire’s aftermath left a trail of sadly destroyed classics, including:
1960 Bentley S2; nicknamed the ‘White Lady’
1930s Ford A (Period Style); nicknamed “Lady Jane”
1934 Rolls Royce 20/25; lovingly called “Lady Grace”
1929 Ford A; named “Arabella”
1932 Austin 12/6; nicknamed ‘Sophie’
1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud; whimsically called as “Poppy”
1930 Period Style Beauford; named ‘Bonnie’
1950 Bentley MKV1; hailed as the ‘White Prince’
Daimler known as the “White Knight”
1937 American Studebaker; called as “The President”