Fire destroys motorcycle dealership in Highlands

HIGHLANDS, Texas – The Highlands Fire Department and the Harris County fire marshal are investigating a fire that destroyed a showroom at Tejas Motorsports, a motorcycle dealership and shop.

Firefighters got the call around 7 a.m. Saturday morning in the Highlands.

Investigators believe an all-terrain vehicle may have shorted out and started the fire.

"Almost the entire showroom was on fire," said Highlands Volunteer Fire Department EMS Chief Tracy Neathery. "The vehicles inside were burning. Our crews immediately went to a two-alarm fire."

Flames ravaged the front portion of the building. An employee, technician Randall Dibartolo, has fixed motorcycles and other vehicles there for years, but this was something he couldn't tackle.

"Ten side-by-sides, probably 20 motorcycles, probably 10 four-wheelers that are probably going to have to be rebuilt," Dibartolo said.

Surprisingly, firefighters say the other half of the building, which houses the vehicles that customers buy, was just fine. The showroom, which the sales team utilizes to sell and show products, was a total loss. Employees gathered in the parking lot of a doughnut shop across the street and watched firefighters put out the flames. Many had come expecting to go to work.

"This was about 45 minutes before they opened for business," Highlands resident Carl Goldy said. "Yesterday I came by and saw all the vehicles parked outside. Today I came and I saw it was gutted and I was pretty surprised." 

The Highlands Volunteer Fire Department, along with Crosby, Channelview and Baytown, helped respond. Now, the focus will be on rebuilding.

"Really, everybody that works here loves this dealership, and it's really tragic that this happened," said Dibartolo.

The investigation is ongoing.