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WASHINGTON — The operations center of Uftring Chevrolet in Washington was a gutted metal shell by dawn on Saturday following an all-day fire on Friday.

The business, however, still had lots of new and used cars to sell and 80-some employees hoping to remain gainfully employed.

Options to re-open at a new location as quickly as possible were being discussed Saturday.

“I don’t know that any decisions had been made on Saturday,” Washington Mayor Gary Manier said Saturday night. “I do know there is an employee’s meeting Monday morning.”

One potential site was the nearby empty site of the old Walmart.

“I know they’ve been working with the Walmart people,” Manier told the Peoria Journal Star.

The fire, believed to have started in the tool area, quickly grew too large for employees to contain. The first fire call came in just after noon and within minutes, the Washington Fire Department put out a call for additional help, drawing dozens of firefighters from area agencies, including Morton, Peoria, Eureka, Mackinaw and Peoria Heights.

Washington firefighters cleared the scene Friday night. Washington police stayed on site throughout Saturday to prevent curious onlookers from getting too close to the dangerous burned-out building.

The monetary damage to the property was not available Saturday.


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