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La Porte man loses family business in fire

LA PORTE, Ind. -

A La Porte man’s family business was destroyed by a fire in a matter of minutes early Saturday morning. He walked ABC 57 through the rubble that remains.

“All my tools and all our records, our manuals, everything is completely gone,” said Wayne Seymour, Manager for Seymour Sales and Service.

Wayne Seymour lost his entire business, La Porte’s Seymour Sales and Service, early Saturday morning, to a fire that raged for hour.

“It had a roar to it, almost like a jet engine at times, so once you hear it, you never forget it,” said Seymour.

His dad built the business 47 years ago.

“You know, it’s hard to see something you’ve worked that hard and long to build up and thrive at and see it all go up in flames in just a matter of minutes, so it’s quite devastating,” said Wayne.

“We had just gotten most of our inventory in to start the season off with. There were six brand new mowers sitting in there. What makes it real bad is two of the six, I had just closed deals on yesterday,” he said.

Wayne actually wears two hats—manager and firefighter.

“I’ve been on the other side of these situations, you know, putting the fires out for people and helping them. Now, I’m on the other side, and I know what they go through. It’s a helpless feeling, you know. Everything you work for is gone,” he said.

“Unfortunately there’s one antique farm tractor in there that’s totally gone,” said Seymour.

That’s Janet Gourley’s tractor, a long-time customer and friend.

“Well we had our own super MTA, 1954 tractor here to get worked on, and it’s back in the corner over there now, somewhere, unidentifiable,” said Janet Gourley.

“That’s the hardest thing out of this deal, how I’m going to face the customers where they’ve lost their equipment,” said Seymour.

“It is just a tractor, we look at it that way. I was glad to see that everybody here is fine,” said Gourley.

They may not be hurt, but they’re still in shock as they browse the belongings they’ve lost, still smoldering in the charred remains.

“We just have to take it as it us and move forward and rebuild and continue on, do the best we can,” said Wayne.

He says firefighters still have not determined the cause of the fire.

Wayne also does not yet have a total for monetary damages, because he has to wait for insurance to come out and assess the property.

However, he’s estimating that he lost $300,000 worth of equipment

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