Mark Anderson, a man who has done much in the River Bend area with his various charities sponsored by Andy’s Auto Body, finds himself in a rare position where he will have to rebuild in the near future.
Andy’s Auto Body location at 14 Schibert Court in Maryville was destroyed in a fire on Jan. 29 and the business suffered a total loss.
“The fire spread so fast by the time the fire department got there that they couldn’t get inside the building and had to fight it on the outside,” he said. “There was not much they could do.”
The good thing is every employee escaped safely and there were no injuries in the fire, Anderson said.
Anderson owns an Andy’s Auto Body location in Alton at 3444 East Broadway, one at 4822 Fosterburg Road in Alton, and 1533 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River. Andy’s Tire and Auto Centers are located at 260 E. Center Dr. in Alton, 3474 E. Broadway in Alton and 1533 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River.
The fire started in the painting area, Anderson said.
“We were down to a few people there for the day waiting on parts and we were doing a job out in the paint booth so we were able to get the people out quickly,” he said.
Someone from a nearby office called the fire in because they saw that the building was on fire, Anderson said.
“We were painting a car in the paint booth and put it on the bake cycle and all of the sudden one of the neighbors said the building was on fire,” he said.
Anderson has worked in the automotive/auto body industry since the 1970s and he has never had an incident like the one in Maryville.
“I was at a Rotary meeting in Alton and got a call that the building in Maryville was on fire,” he said. “It took me 30 minutes to drive out there and when I got there the whole roof was caved in and the walls were falling and the fire was spreading to the mechanical shop. It was a total loss; there is nothing we can do but bulldoze it down.”
Anderson is presently working with insurance adjustors to determine what to do with the site, but he said he is presently committed to rebuilding the facility.
“We are committed to the area,” he said. “It is just too early in the insurance process; I will wait to comment on everything.”
Anderson praised the various fire departments that responded for their efforts in extinguishing the blaze at Andy’s and protecting the other nearby businesses.
Early in the week he said he feels his staff at the various Andy’s locations were in a bit of a daze and trying to wake up to what happened.