Parker automotive business destroyed, arson suspected

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Shafer Automotive owner Tyler Shafer takes inventory of what can be salvaged after a fire destroyed his business on Sunday, July 18. Arson is believed to have caused the fire. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PARKER – Arson is suspected in the fire that severely damaged a Parker automotive repair and tire shop on Sunday, July 18. Tyler Shafer, owner of Shafer Automotive, said at least 90 percent of the structure and it’s contents were a total loss.

The five was apparently set shortly before 5:30 p.m. when the call came in, according to Parker Police Chief Craig Haley, who was first to arrive on the scene. By the time firefighters arrived, the building was fully involved, he said.

Although the fire has not officially been determined to be arson by the state fire marshal’s office, Haley said there was strong suspicion that it was.

Shafer said that it was arson and that he knew the person who set the blaze.

The police chief, who works full time as a deputy for the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, said that a suspect was found and taken into custody on charges unrelated to the fire.

The fire was set on the west side of the building where used tires were piled next to a pickup truck. The fire then spread into the building where it caught more tires on fire, Haley said.

A loader was used to drag the burned pickup across the road to a lot west of the shop, and was then used to pull down the overhead doors so that firefighters could attack the blaze inside the building.

Haley said that he and Linn County Deputy Fire Chief Dee Horttor stayed on the scene with state fire investigators until after midnight.

“The fire department did a great job,” said Haley, who was hired as chief and sworn in earlier this month. He said that firefighters from across the county turned out to battle the blaze.

Shafer, a Parker resident who purchased the business in 2017 from original owner Ryan Schweer, said a new tire machine only a couple weeks old, the hydraulic lift and other tools were destroyed. Also burned was at least one other truck in the shop.

The fire melted I-beam rafters, steel purlins and roofing as well. Still yet to be determined is whether the concrete pad on which the structure sits is compromised

“There are a lot of memories in there,” said Shafer, who had worked in the building since 2007.

Coils of steel belts are all that remain of a pile of tires near the west entrance to Shafer Automotive. The fire started near here and moved inside building.

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