SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — The charred remains of a ‘68 Camaro, a pickup truck and a Toyota Camry sit inside the condemned building of Rego’s Auto Service, destroyed by a fire on Monday night. 

The owners of the family business are picking up the pieces after the devastating fire, already making plans to continue repairing cars after two other local auto shops offered the use of their garage space.

“This is our life,” said Brian Rego, the son of owner Robert Rego and the manager of the auto repair shop. “Everything’s gone. Had three cars inside, thousands and thousands of dollars, paperwork…we’re a small business so everything’s a lot tougher.”

Robert Rego says he’s owned the business for 3 years, after renting garage space in Rehoboth for more than 15. Several customers who stopped by on Tuesday described him as an honest mechanic who lets customers make payments if they can’t afford their car repairs.

“It broke my heart, because it’s a family business,” said Victor Perez, a customer who lives in East Providence. “You get ripped off from other places, [but] he’s always there for you. Even with money or without money, he’s always there.”

Seekonk Fire Chief Michael Healy said the fire was heavy when firefighters arrived around 11 p.m. Monday night, and the sheet-metal building appeared to be glowing. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

“The flames just kept coming right out like you can’t believe,” said Bob Botelho, who lives across the street and saw the fire. “I looked out the window and I saw the building, almost like a blow torch on one side coming out, then the next thing you know another explosion up in the air, almost like pyrotechnics you’d see in a movie.”

More than a dozen cars in the parking lot of the auto business were spared from the flames, which stayed contained inside the metal building. At first, the Regos thought their customers’ keys might be lost. But Tuesday afternoon, they found a handful of metal keys in the rubble with their plastic covers melted off.

One auto shop owner in East Providence and another in Rehoboth have already offered garage space to Rego, which he said he’ll likely accept. The family hopes they will be able to rebuild their business.

“It’s going to be tough to bounce back, but we’ll do it,” Brian Rego said.