NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A fire in Washington County over the weekend destroyed a number of collectible cars worth nearly $1 million. The owner had insurance, but the cars cannot be replaced.

The heat was so intense it melted the fiberglass panels of a more than $90,000 Dodge Viper.

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The fire started early Sunday morning inside of a garage in North Strabane Township, which stored up to 12 vintage and collectible cars.

“Corvettes, Vipers, Cadillacs, all expensive cars,” said Dominick Falbo, the owner of the building.

Three Dodge Vipers, all with less than 10,000 miles were either damaged or destroyed by the fire. Four others were already removed.

Damage is estimated at well over $1 million from the loss of the cars alone. Other vehicles stored in garages next door took heavy smoke damage.

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Falbo thinks the cause was electrical.

“The state fire marshal thinks it was the battery charger,” he said. “The battery, it probably malfunctioned, the battery exploded and the fire started.”

When the fire started, it took a toll on two businesses on the upper level of the building. A popular restaurant and an eye and vision center are temporarily closed.

Workers were removing debris from Deconcilis Eye and Vision Center, which took heavy smoke damage. Suzy B’s restaurant had minor smoke damage. The owner plans to reopen this week.

“Everything has to be cleaned and sanitized, and we’ll be reopened for business on Thursday,” said Suzan Barckhoff, the restaurant owner. “So it was only a four day interruption.”

We’re told that all of the vehicles and the businesses were insured. The smoke detectors were working and no firefighters were injured.

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