After devastating fire, Cartersville business owners try to help employees

An automotive business in Cartersville was destroyed by flames over the weekend. The owners suffered a devastating loss, but they're pushing aside their own troubles and doing something to help their employees. Several of the employees were inside KO Automotive when the fire broke out.  

"Definitely a surreal moment, it happened so quickly," said owner Chris Martin.

Bright orange flames, surrounded by thick black smoke, devoured KO Automotive Saturday afternoon.  The fire shot through the building burning up cars in its path. Gas and other liquids inside fueled the flames. In minutes, a family business was gone.

"In about eight minutes the whole building was engulfed in flames," said owner Felicity Martin.

Owners Chris and Felicity Martin were out of town. Surveillance video shows their employees running around doing everything they can.  Some were moving cars out of the way while others tried to put out the fire.

"Knowing they had grabbed fire extinguishers trying to put it out for us just meant so much to us that they were trying to save our livelihood," said Felicity Martin.

The flames melted cars on the outside and burned up vehicles, equipment, and tools inside.  Most of those tools were personal tools that belonged to the seven technicians who work there.

"A lot of very specialized tools. Some had 20-, 30-, 40-thousand dollars worth of tools they've accumulated," said Chris Martin.

When the owners discovered insurance would only cover a small portion of the value of the tools they knew they had to help their guys. They set up a GoFundMe to raise money for them. 

"We're all family and for them to walk away with nothing, we can't handle that," said Felicity Martin.

The community is already pitching in.  One person even left a special gift. 

"Somebody had left a bucket of tools on our front steps for our guys. We don't know who it is. Just thinking about this and the amazing outpouring of love we received and our guys received," said Felicity Martin. 

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