Community supporting Riverside business owner after fire

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) — Less than one week after flames tore through a Riverside business, and the community is coming together to help.

March 24th. A day Lathey Adkins, Manager of Sparky’s Auto Center, says he will never forget.

“I never thought in a million years something like this was going to happen.”

Adkins says he opened his shop just like he would on any other given day. He unlocked the doors, opened the garage bays, and made a call. But it was a noise he had never heard in his shop before that caught his attention after a few seconds.

“It sounded like a crash or something or something broke then a second after that I heard a ‘woo’,” Adkins said.

“I can’t help but go through my head, there must have been something accelerating it.” Adkins tells 2NEWS he tried putting out the fire himself.

Now, what’s left on his hands, a physical reminder of a fire that burned his business, and livelihood.

“My thumb is the worst. It’s really–I can barely touch it,” he said.

Adkins life as a manager at the auto shop was a modest one. He says he lived paycheck to paycheck, and couldn’t afford insurance for his business.

“Insurance people would come, but they’d say I would have to insure my business and the house next door,” he added, “I couldn’t afford that,”

The previous owner had made a carport, which ran near the home next door.

“When the ball is dropped they all come together. And that’s what family is for,” His daughters have setup a GoFundMe account to raise money to cover medical expenses,  and replacing the garage.

“My daughters, I love them to death. They have went out of there way to do everything they can to me,” he said.

Now — Adkins is hoping to moving forward.

“I can’t go back and change it. There’s nothing I can do. I know in time it will pass. But I’ll never forget.”

If you’d like to donate to the Lathey Adkins fire disaster relief GoFundMe, Click Here.

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