It’s been 10 days since the Donnell Ford car dealership in Boardman was damaged by a fire. But thankfully, on Monday, the service department reopened and the bays were nearly full of cars and trucks needing repairs.
Since the fire, the dealership had only been working on cars that were in the shop. Donnell Ford says they are now back to accepting new service calls.
The parts department was also busy returning to pre-fire levels of customer service, stocking up on tires and airbags and replacing all the Ford parts and equipment that were destroyed in the fire. So, some parts, as of now, might not be available for same-day service.
“Service, we got up and running. We had to get our computers up, our telephones, the way you can look up parts and get the machines running. Internet for the new computer modules and that. So service is up and running in full now,” said general manager Todd Dauterman.
The sales department has been using a different building on the property not damaged by the fire, which started around 4 a.m. on March 15.
The state fire marshal hasn’t determined an exact cause, but when it first happened, investigators considered it may have been from a lightning strike.
Architects and engineers will now survey the damaged parts of the building for the next step in recovery — rebuilding.
Employee Priscilla Hecker posted on Facebook Monday afternoon, thanking customers for warm wishes and making sure that they are okay.
“We here at Donnell Ford will prevail. Shelby, our cat, is getting better every day. Thank you Jimmy Johns for the sandwiches. Also, anyone else that stopped by with food,“ Hecker said in the post.
Hours after the fire started, crews were able to get inside of the building to save Shelby the cat, who lived at the car dealership.
The lucky cat was received like a true rockstar on Monday as Tom, one of the Ford technicians, took her for a walk to visit with everyone at the office.
“She is even getting fan mail. She is a famous cat for sure, she is on Facebook and everything. Everybody that calls here, that’s one of the first things they ask, ‘How is the cat?'” said office manager Patty Miconi.
Shelby has been getting breathing treatments from Angels for Animals and could be getting her last one soon. She has been living with Miconi during her recovery.
Miconi says Shelby is able to walk on her own and will eventually be brought back to Donnell Ford for good.