Roanoke’s Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum Devastated by Fire

A late-night fire called in early on November 1 destroyed much of a vintage bus collection overnight and now museum officials will try to pick up the pieces.

The Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum at 18th and Campbell was really more of a warehouse that stored vintage buses still used on special occasions – and now the building is a total loss after a 2-alarm fire overnight.

Bev Fitzpatrick is the museum’s president: “we’re not dead in the water as a result of this … but unfortunately we have the lost the majority of the valuable collection.”

Fitzpatrick is also executive director for the Virginia Museum of Transportation. He estimates the loss at up to $500,000 with around 15 buses destroyed; no cause for the fire has yet been determined.

The leased warehouse had no sprinkler system or smoke detectors. The remaining stock will be moved for the time being to the VMT and Fitzpatrick says they are already raising money via the museum website and Facebook for restoration of the remaining stock.

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