Car repair shop poses no threat to the community

Monica Cortez-KTSM

POSTED: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 8:09pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 9:00am

City says Franco's Auto Electric shop is up to code

It's been half a year since a fire tore through half a block on Alameda and one business continues to operate while bearing a noticeable scar.

The fire broke out last May, ultimately spreading to four businesses.

Columns of black smoke, flames leaping from the rapidly crumbling structure, and hoses spewing out water in attempt to suffocate the flames; that was the scene in south central El Paso last May.

Fast-forward to today, and not much has changed, including Jose Carlos Franco's career.

Franco has a family owned business shop called Franco Auto Electric Shop, and has been in the car repair business for more than 40 years.

But on that smoke and flame-filled spring day last year, his life-long business, nearly burned to the ground.

“Everything burned, we lost about 200 thousand there,” said Franco. “It was a warehouse and everything caught on fire.”

Firefighters ruled the blaze accidental, due to an electrical malfunction in the building next to Franco's shop The Vegas Lounge.

If you’ve driven down the shop, you will see the brunt of the fire the building sustained that day on May 23rd.

The walls soot-stained serve a reminder of the fire's destructive power, and as bad as the building may look today, Franco said the fire department inspected the structure, and said it is structurally sound and up to code.

“3119 Alameda we are not showing any records for any type of complaint that has been received,” said Javier Camacho, City Development Coordinator with the City Development Department.

But the city has received complaints about condition of the building next door.

That's the Vegas Lounge at 3117 Alameda. That business has been issued permits to repair the damage.

As far as safety issues are concerned for the auto shop, Franco said there is nothing to worry about, and added he is taking care of any repairs that may be needed.

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