Williams County car dealership opens new building after arson fire

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BRYAN, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Eighteen months ago, a Williams County car dealership was set on fire.
Part of the building was destroyed, and the rest of it sustained smoke damage day-to-day operations after the fire were certainly challenging.

The rebuilding process is now wrapping up at Bryan Ford Lincoln. Crews are putting the finishing touches on the new building.
Employees have been working in the new space for several weeks.
The dealership held a community open house last week, and the owner says the community is what helped him get through this difficult time.

Getting to this point has been a long process. It all started in the early morning hours of May 9, 2016 when two teens broke into the building
The owner says police believe the two were in the building for several hours before the fire started."Highway flares were lit right here and that's what started the fire. Then it spread out this way."

Chip Wood is the President of Bryan Ford Lincoln and he says after getting calls about the fire at his dealership, what he found was hard to believe, "When I came up under the overpass down the street, the fire was everywhere. I had never seen so many first responders and fire trucks in one place and they were from all over the county."

Chip says a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old were arrested in connection with the case. Luckily no one was hurt in the fire, but the damage was everywhere.

In the days that followed the fire, Chip says he was in shock. He says it was rough-going as they operated the business in temporary space, "It's been a year and a half, and it's been tough for us and tough for our customers. We were working out of trailers. As you can imagine, the logistics were tough. It was hard on our customers and equally hard on us to do business."

But all that is behind him, and Chip says that is thanks in part to the kindness of the people in this community, "I tell people all the time that I have the best job in the world. They say oh it must be easy. It's not easy, I get beat up every day just like everybody else. I just come back the next day and try to do it better."

The goal is to have lots of tomorrows at the new dealership, "It feels really good to have everyone back under one roof. Really, really good."