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3 min read

Matco Toolbox Survives Total Shop Fire

Matco Toolbox Survives Total Shop Fire

Driving into work is a routine part of our lives that often goes unnoticed. However, for Travis in Marysville, OH, it was far from an ordinary day in March. He arrived at work slightly later than usual due to a doctor’s appointment for his son. As he pulled up to the shop where he dedicates his time to restoring classic cars, he was met with a devastating sight - the fire brigade turning him away because of a massive fire engulfing the shop.

Travis, who was located a block away, anxiously called his brother, who was also inside the blazing shop. Fortunately, he received the relieving news that his brother, along with all their coworkers, managed to escape just in the nick of time. It was a heart-stopping moment for Travis, as his brother, who he holds dear as his best friend, had to courageously navigate through the fire and gas tanks to make it out of the building. Miraculously, a mere twenty seconds after his brother's escape, the tanks burst into flames.

So let's dive into what exactly happened. It all started when a fellow technician began working on a fuel pump at the beginning of Travis' day. They took all the necessary precautions to ensure a safe workspace, including disconnecting the car's battery. But unfortunately, despite their efforts, something in the car sparked, causing it to catch fire.

To make matters even worse, there were oxygen and argon tanks right next to the car. In what felt like no time at all, the entire building was engulfed in flames.

Once they were finally allowed back into the building, everyone believed that everything was lost. Travis recalls, "I thought to myself, 'Holy hell, everything is gone. My tools and livelihood are destroyed. I might have to consider switching careers and going back to construction.'"

While the automotive shop itself was completely destroyed, there was one glimmer of hope for Travis. His Matco toolbox miraculously survived the fire. Unfortunately, his coworkers' competitor toolboxes and their tools were lost in the blaze.

When Travis retrieved his Matco box from the shop, he was astonished to find that his tools inside were completely unharmed by the fire, even though Matco toolboxes are not fire rated. The only casualty was the deodorant he had stored in one of the drawers. None of his tools, power strips, or drawer liners had melted. It's worth noting that the location of his brother's toolbox, which was parked right next to Travis' in an especially hot area of the fire, had no effect on its survival.

With the toolbox safely out of the building, the next step was to see how well it would clean up and determine what Travis would use to store his tools in the meantime.

Attempts to power wash the box proved unsuccessful. Soap, orange cleaner, and even a Brillo pad didn't do the trick. But finally, a wire brush attached to a drill was able to remove the thick layer of soot that seemed to be glued onto the box and trim. Once Travis' brother buffed the box, it looked as good as new.

Before (Charred)

Matco Toolbox Escapes Shop Fire Covered in Heavy Soot  After (Cleaned)

Matco Toolbox Cleaned Up After Fire

Astounded, Travis took to social media to show how his Matco toolbox and the tools inside survived his shop fire. Which is how we found out about this incredible, yet heartbreaking event.

When asked if he had anything else to add to this story, Travis replied “Tell the employees at the toolbox plant to keep up the good work. Thank you! None of the other tool companies have helped us out, so I have to say thank you as well to [my Matco Distributor] Shane and our boss that have helped me, and all of us, through this. It helped me justify the investment, especially to my wife. She’s finally happy I bought the toolbox.”

While we found that Travis’ box does need minor repairs to drawer slides and outside badging, we couldn’t be happier to hear the Matco box helped save his livelihood. We understand that a mechanic’s investment and future paycheck is stored inside their toolbox, and we couldn’t be more proud to be part of a happy outcome to a devastating situation.

We don’t just claim Matco toolboxes to be the best built in the world, we live it. We stand by it. The toolbox belonging to Travis in Marysville, OH is proof.

UPDATE: We visited Travis to talk to him when his brand new hutch was delivered. Watch the video below.