Carlton Automotive rises from the ashes

Phillip Bock , USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin 5:53 a.m. CT Jan. 19, 2017

The exterior of the new facility | Carlton Automotive
The exterior of the new facility for Carlton Automotive as seen in this submitted photo.(Photo: Carlton Automotive/submitted)

OOSTBURG - Carlton Automotive has risen from the ashes of a fire a year ago to build a new state-of-the-art facility just off of Interstate 43.

Just before 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2016, a leaky gas-tank in a car being worked on in the shop caught fire, which spread and burned down a large section of the Carlton Automotive businesses.

When the fire broke out, owner Carl Roethel was not on site, but was just a few blocks away at a car wash.

“My pager went off and I heard the address and thought,  what’s going on now,'” he laughed.

Roethel, who was assistant fire chief in Oostburg at the time, and six of his employees are all firefighters. Three were working at the time of the blaze.

Firefighters work the fire | Carlton Automotive
Firefighters work the fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments assisted at the scene. (Photo: Carlton Automotive/submitted)

“After they determined they could not do anymore, they ran to the fire house, got their gear, and worked feverishly to put the fire out,” Roethel said.

At the time, the automotive shop was housed in an older building, constructed in the 1940's, and an addition built in 2000. The addition was destroyed in the fire.

“We lost half our facility at that point,” he said. “With the help of our employees, we were up and running and working on cars again the following Monday. We were all packed into one building.”

Roethel said he always dreamed of building a state-of-the art shop — and the fire accelerated those plans. Construction documents were drawn up in the months after the fire and the company broke ground in July on a new building just off of Interstate 43 in Oostburg.

“We hope to grow the business," Roethel said. "We are the entrance to the Village of Oostburg and wanted to have a nice looking entrance to the village as well.”

The new building nearly doubles the size of the business, from 6,500 square feet before to around 12,000 today. The number of hoists was increased from 8 to 10 and the number of work-bays was increased from nine to 15.

“Right now, we have six technicians. I’d like to get up to eight at some point,” Roethel said.

Owner Carl Roethel and his wife | Carlton Automotive
Carlton Automotive owner Carl Roethel and his wife Linda pose inside their new shop Tuesday January 17, 2017 in Oostburg.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The new facility also includes more space for offices, a customer waiting area, in-floor heat throughout and a parts storage room.

“Before we never had a parts area," Roethel  said. "We just had stuff hanging on walls wherever we could find room."

Carlton Automotive, located at 39 Center Avenue in Oostburg, is a full service auto repair shop with towing capability and a small used car sales lot. For more information, visit carltonautomotive.com.

Reach reporter Phillip Bock at 920-453-5121, [email protected],

Aaron Roethel works on repairing | Carlton Automotive
Carlton Automotive's Aaron Roethel works on repairing a car's heating system Tuesday January 17, 2017 in Oostburg.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The service bays | Carlton Automotive
The service bays at Carlton Automotive's new facility as seen Tuesday January 17, 2017 in Oostburg. Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The tire changing area | Carlton Automotive
The tire changing area at the new Carlton Automotive facility as seen Tuesday January 17, 2017 in Oostburg. Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Firefighters work the fire | Carlton Automotive
Firefighters work the fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments assisted at the scene.  Carlton Automotive/submitted

Smoke billows at the fire | Carlton Automotive
Smoke billows at the fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments assisted at the scene.  Randy Roethel/submitted

People and fire trucks surround | Carlton Automotvie
People and fire trucks surround Carlton Automotvie Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Firefighters inspect the damage caused by a fire | Carlton Automotive
Firefighters inspect the damage caused by a fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene. Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Fire trucks at the scene of | Carlton Automotive
Fire trucks at the scene of the Carlton Automotive fire Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene. Gary C. Klein

Fire trucks surround | Carlton Automotive
Fire trucks surround Carlton Automotive following a fire at the firm Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Firefighters regroup following a fire | Carlton Automotive
Firefighters regroup following a fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Firefighters gather by a fire truck following a fire | Carlton Automotive
Firefighters gather by a fire truck following a fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Firefighters look at damage following a fire | Carlton Automotive
Firefighters look at damage following a fire at Carlton Automotive Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

A sign at | Carlton Automotive
A sign at Carlton Automotive following a fire at the firm Saturday January 23, 2016 in Oostburg. Several area fire departments, including Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Town of Wilson, Kohler, Haven, Waldo and Plymouth assisted at the scene.  Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

 

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