Fire Destroys Family Business

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Oct 2, 2007 at 2:56 PM EDT

A fire in the Town of Chenango destroys a family business. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene Monday night, the building was fully engulfed.

As Action News reporter Erik Burling tells us, the family doesn't know where to turn.

"I don't know what we're going to do. We have no clue. I don't know what you do when you lose everything. I don't know. I just don't know," said Lydia Schlesiger.

For 38 long years Schlesiger and her husband ran Lothar's Autohaus.

Her sons grew up working there.

But in 2 short hours, it was reduced to this.

The auto-shop, and used car dealership, was a staple on Upper Front Street.

"I was just amazed, I didn't know what was on fire, and the smoke was just so massive," said Craig Neish who witnessed the fire.

Schlesiger was sitting in her office when the fire started.

She says some of her workers raced for extinguishers, but the flames were too powerful.

Chenango, and Binghamton City fire departments responded.

"When I first rode up, the building behind me that's totally burned was fully engulfed in flames. And with the wind, the way it's blowing right now, it just blew it right on the dwelling next door," said Town of Chenango Fire Chief David Conklin.

That blaze burnt down Lothar's Autohaus completely, and nearly burned down a building next to it, where students live.

They all got out safely.

As for Schlesiger...

"Well I don't drink, but I have a fairly good idea I'll be having a brandy tonight. Cuz I probably won't sleep," she said.

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