Car wash owner thankful no one hurt in landslide

“It was a big surprise. I got a call from one of my employees and called me and told me it was really bad”
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:27 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - An early-morning landslide destroyed a Roanoke car wash Tuesday

Lines of yellow tape have replaced the lines of cars that are usually out waiting to be cleaned at Southern Classic Auto Wash, at Orange and Hollins.

“It was a big surprise. I got a call from one of my employees and called me and told me it was really bad,” co-owner Willy Snider said.

From the front of the property, you can see how the roof buckled. In the back, rocks and rubble pushed their way inside the building.

Snider said the bay full of debris is normally where employees clean and detail cars. “We were all in here working yesterday, would have been here working today, you know it could have been really bad. You know we are just glad there wasn’t nobody in the building at the time,” Snider said.

Crews initially responded to the landslide around 6 a.m. Tuesday after a Roanoke firefighter saw the damage on his way to work.

“I see the insulation sitting in the parking lot and my first thought was, ‘Oh my God, somebody has dumped their trash in the parking lot,’” Roanoke Fire-EMS Captain Rhett Fleitz said.

Roanoke Fire-EMS was on scene to help crews as they turned off the gas, electricity and water.

Fleitz said it’s tough to see a local business get hit so hard. “I’ll be paying attention with others to see, hopefully they will be able to rebuild,” he said.

Snider said it’s hard to believe that after decades there on Orange Ave. their future is now uncertain.

“Everybody is in shock; never thought anything like this would happen. We just don’t really know, I am sure we will know more in a few days, a few weeks, as we go through the process,” Snider said.

A business that specializes with cleaning now forced to deal with mother nature’s mess.

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