Alberta Car Collector Loses $3 Million Uninsured Collection In Fire

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In Alberta, Canada, a man is heartbroken after going through every car lover’s worst nightmare: his uninsured vehicle collection with an estimated value of more than $3 million was destroyed in a fire.

“It is what is,” said Bert Curtiss. “I guess I’ve lost 45 years of work.”

Curtiss’ collection was stored within his 27,000-square foot dairy barn outside of Olds. Earlier this month, the entire building and all its valuable contents became completely engulfed in flames, leaving nothing but a heaping pile of charred debris.

Curtiss said he had lost the exact count of the $3 million collection, but he estimates that it contained more than 40 classic cars and another 40 antique tractors. The dairy barn also held a back hoe, two bailers, a skid steer, and numerous OHVs (off-highway vehicles) that were severely damaged during the fiery blaze.

“This was actually a museum quality 1927 international truck,” Curtiss said about a section of the burned remains. “The cab was mostly made out of wood on those old trucks so there’s nothing left of it.”

The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined, but officials think it started in a nearby garage.

Curtiss, a resident of Olds, said he did not have insurance for any of the more than 80 vehicles that were destroyed in the blaze or the barn where the vehicles were kept.

After mourning his lost vehicle collection, Curtiss said he’s very unlikely to return to his former hobby of repairing and restoring classic and antique vehicles. However, if he’s looking to make some of his money back, perhaps he should consider landscaping — according to realestate.com, landscaping can raise a home’s value by up to 12%.

Whatever Curtiss decides to do next, hopefully, he’ll remember to buy insurance. While 86% of survey respondents believe that most people require life insurance, few people think to insure their valuable belongings.

“Some of these cars I’ve had for 40 years. (I’ve spent) hundreds of thousands of hours working on them,” he said.