On Sunday morning a race car garage in Epping, New Hampshire burned to the ground, destroying two of the three race cars and all the tools and equipment inside. One man, David Parker, was sent to the hospital, eventually to be released after being treated for smoke inhalation and high blood pressure.
Parker said the fire started around 11 a.m. on Sunday while he was working on one of the three race cars that the garage housed. His family team of Parker Motorsports is a three-car team with cars for each of Parker’s kids. The team competes in the Roadrunner division at Star Speedway in Epping, a division made up of four-cylinder compact cars. Kody and Chailee are the oldest kids at 17, and Brian, 15, also races. This year was supposed to be his daughter Chailee’s first season in racing.
“They’re pretty bummed for sure,” Parker told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “They were looking to race together. We race with the Roadrunners at Star Speedway. My oldest boy got rookie of the year there in that division. He was looking to finish pretty strong there this year. I don’t know. They’re all pretty bummed.”
The father said he believes the fire was ignited by sparks from the metal he was cutting, but he doesn’t know exactly what caught fire first.
“I was working on one of the race cars cutting the suspension,” he said. “While I was working on the suspension something sparked and the sparks ignited something behind me. I’m not really sure what it was. It just got really hot behind me and by the time I figured out something was on fire it pretty much lit all the benches and everything on fire.
“We have a small pond next to the shop so my first instinct was to go get a bucket of water. By the time I got back it had gotten the air compressor line. It basically started like a flame thrower. Unfortunately, at that point there wasn’t anything I could do aside from call the fire department.”
Two of the three race cars are completely destroyed, according to Parker, as is all of the tools and equipment the family owned. The two-story garage was also completely leveled.
Parker said that they did not have an insurance policy for the building.
“We had just got it back in October,” he explained. “It was a foreclosure property. We were having a tough time getting someone to insure both the building and the property inside it because it wasn’t on our immediate residence. We were having issues getting the right coverage.”
Parker was taken to nearby Exeter Hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation and high blood pressure. He said he spent about a day and a half there before being released.
Now Parker and the family are left to try to figure out what their next steps are for the family-owned team. A GoFundMe page has been started in an effort to try to help the Parkers eventually get back some of what was lost. And because of some friends, Parkers’ kids are still going to be able to race this year.
“There’s been a lot of local support,” Parker said. “A lot of my friends are piecing together some cars so that my kids can at least get out on the track. Nothing as competitive as they were in, but they’re young kids so at least to get out on the track and have some fun.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Parker Motorsports GoFundMe page