A Lindale family is searching through the rubble after a late night fire destroyed a garage full of classic cars and narrowly missed burning their house on FM 2710 Wednesday night. The family said everything in garage was easily worth half a million dollars.
"I'm just numb. I really haven't had time to think about it; hate to look at it. There are a lot of memories after 35 years," homeowner Larry Bateman said.
The detached garage burned to the ground, destroying a 1934 Chevy Roaster and a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Bateman said restoring cars is his passion.
"He'd just go out to his shop, and he'd stay out there all day long and work on those cars. That was his whole life and now it's gone," Bateman's wife, Sandy, said.
Along with the cars were tools, engines and other car parts. The garage is inches from the house.
"If the wind had been out of the north like it is this morning, it probably would've got our house instead of the wind being out of the south last night and blowing it away from the house, thank goodness. All this can be replaced eventually," Larry Bateman said.
That's exactly what the plan is.
"You just start over, and I'm sure we'll rebuild. That was his love to be out there all the time, and he enjoyed it, so I'm sure we'll rebuild and try to start over," Sandy Bateman said.
The Smith County Fire Marshal believes the fire was accidental, and may have been caused by a short in a deep freezer. The Bateman's home didn't suffer any fire damage, but the Lindale family didn't have insurance on any of its classic cars.