From the rear window of Galpin Premier Collection in Southern California, fire, smoke and flames are visible.
The dealership sits less than 2.5 miles from the raging Skirball fire near the exclusive Bel Air area. It ignited around 4:52 local time Wednesday morning.
"It’s been a heck of a morning for us," said Galpin Motors Inc. COO Beau Boeckman. "I woke up at 5-something this morning and literally saw flames out my bedroom window; we’re that close. I live 50 yards from it."
The massive fire has affected business at dealerships throughout the area but hadn’t destroyed any of them. It also forced a shutdown of one of the busiest freeways in the nation, the 405, bringing Los Angeles and surrounding areas to a halt, with clogged traffic and clouded, ash-filled air.
“The fires are pretty intense right around us," said Brian Allan, senior director of Galpin Motors, in North Hills, Calif., which owns Galpin Premier Collection, Galpin Ford and Galpin Mazda, all in Van Nuys, and Galpin Subaru in Santa Clarita. "We haven’t had to close our facilities, but we have had several employees impacted by it. The smoke is so intense. We’re in the middle of it. It’s a ring of fire."