BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – In the early morning hours of Friday, March 15, Donnell Ford’s showroom went up in flames. Eight months later, the rebuilding process at the Boardman car dealership continues.
“It was overwhelming,” said Todd Dauterman, Donnell’s general manager. “None of us have been through a fire.”
After the fire was put out, Donnell workers saved what they could.
“We started moving some of the stuff out that we could save and we started getting set up in our extra showroom to get started to sell the next day,” Dauterman said.
Everything else was thrown away.
“Then they torn down the walls and we had to build from the ground up,” Dauterman said.
Due to safety reasons, our news crew couldn’t go inside. But from the outside, you can still tell some work needs to be done.
“Of course, we’ve got the front still to do,” Dauterman said. “We should be on the roof in about two weeks.”
There are now steel beams out front, which will eventually be the new showroom on Market Street.
“The rest of the building is completely finished, from the sales office back to services. Services and parts and body shop are all up and running,” Dauterman said.
The rebuilt showroom floor will have a new look.
“It’s going to be the whole new Ford stainless front with the big arch and the Ford sign on it,” Dauterman said. “Brand new showroom. It’s going to be up to Ford specs.”
The amount of space they’ve had to work with has slimmed down but Dauterman said they’ve still been able to run a full crew.
“We’ve got the same employees here when the fire happened until now, thankfully. The Flynn family has made sure that everyone has been taken care of since the fire. Customers have been wonderful and taken care of all of us.”
Finally, we had to ask about the showroom cat, Shelby, that was saved from the fire.
“The cat is in great shape,” Dauterman said. “She’s actually staying with our office manager until our building is done.”