613 Automotive Group was being used for the I Know This Much Is True HBO series when the blaze broke out.
A car dealership in Ellenville is suing an HBO production company for $8 million after the location was destroyed by a massive fire after being used as a set for the television series I Know This Much To Be True, according to the Record Online. The series stars Mark Ruffalo. The lawsuit was filed by 613 Automotive Group and issued to Calling Grace Productions due to negligence.
On May 9th, 2019, just after midnight, a fire erupted at the dealership and completely engulfed the 10,000-square-foot facility while torching dozens of vehicles. Some of the cars were owned by the dealership while others were antiques that were put in place by the production company to use on set. According to the source, the Ulster County fire officials could not be reached to update the reason for this fire that broke out last year.
Co-owner of 613 Automotive Group, Levi Hecht, told the Journal during a conference call that the impact from the fire was devastating financially, and they are still feeling it over a year after the tragic situation."The business, basically, almost fell apart," he said. "We're holding on by a thin string to keep this alive financially and physically," Hecht said to the Journal.
The other owner of 613 Automotive Group is 87-year-old Aaron Weingarten, who goes on to say "They're stretching me out. They want to outlast me. I'm 87-years-old. I hope that I can settle this while I'm still on earth."
While HBO has not responded to the Journal, Weingarten confirmed that his company are is an insured party for $3 million and are suing for $8 million in damages.
According to the report, the fire was started due to a transformer that was being used to charge camera batteries. Just one person was said to be on site during this time, a security guard who fell asleep and woke to explosions caused by the fire, and he was able to escape unharmed.
Over 30 classic collector cars wroth over $1 million along with $10 million in camera gear such as cameras, lenses, and other production equipment were completely destroyed by the blaze.
After spending $200,000 to clean up all debris after the fire, the dealership was left "destitute". According to the source, the dealership has yet to be compensated anything by the Calling Grace production company, and they were also forced to cut eight jobs because of the fire. About 14 vendors and subcontractors with connection to the production company have been investigating the fire.
Court paperwork shows that the dealership is also suing because of a breach of contract, and that the fire "resulted in insured, uninsured, and underinsured damages." Even more, the agreement between both parties specified if Calling Grace production company had the company dislodged for more time than contracted, along with not returning cars to the location which would result in $2,75o per day. That breaks down to $1,750 for the inability to occupy and $1,000 for the cars, charges that are continuously collecting to this day. The improper storage of flammable equipment along with failure to make sure state building and fire codes were up to date.
Having wrapped up the HBO 6-part series on June 14th, the production for I Know This Much To Be True brought forth 260 full-time jobs along with boosting the local economy by more than $15 million.
Series production started in October 2018 in the Hudson Valley, and plans involved 28 days with five days set aside for filming at 613 Automotive Group dealership which is nestled on Main Street in Ellenville.
Sadly, the massive blaze burnt those plans causing the dealership to relocate to another spot in town. The original location is still vacant, and both owners hope to rebuild. What started out as excitement for the HBO production to use their dealership as a hot spot for the show turned into devastation once the large fire destroyed everything at the site.
"Despite clearly being responsible for the damages, Calling Grace did not even have the decency to clear the property after the fire, which has left us financially destitute and without the necessary capital to rebuild our business.”
Source: Record Online