By EMMA CORNFORD
AN explosion blew the roof off a workshop at Grafton 4x4 Wreckers yesterday, with fire destroying part of the Bessie Street business.
The blaze started after a '66 Chevy, which business owner Hugh Loy was restoring, caught fire.
The extreme heat generated caused a number of explosions ? including one which blew the back windows out of Mr Loy's house.
One resident who witnessed the fire said the flames had been 'huge'.
"They were really high, going out over the top of the shed," the resident, who did not wish to be named, said.
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"It's so unlucky because he's a really nice bloke and always helps people out. It could have been a lot worse (but) he employs a few blokes there and helps them out so it's a real shame."
The resident said the fire had already taken hold before the first explosion and a number of others followed.
South Grafton Fire Brigade Commander Dennis Pye said damage to the property had been 'extensive'.
"As we were coming in I said to him 'are there any more bottles in there to go off', and he said he thought that was all, but as soon as the words came out of his mouth off went another one," he said.
"Virtually all of one section was completely burnt out."
Fire crews were called to the blaze at around 1.50pm with South Grafton and Grafton brigades attending, some wearing breathing apparatus inside the smouldering building.
"It took us the best part of 40 minutes to extinguish the flames but we were out there for awhile mopping up and making sure no more spot fires broke out," Mr Pye said.
"A hole was also blown in a besser brick wall but no-one was injured thank goodness.
"But there's a big clean-up job there for him (Mr Loy)."