Unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake left vehicles and businesses throughout the downtown Kenosha area badly damaged, including one local car dealer that estimates its losses in the millions.
Car Source, a car dealer in the city, was attacked when a mob descended into its lot and begin smashing cars on the first night of unrest last Sunday. There was an explosion and subsequent fire that spread from one vehicle to the next, one resident told Kenosha News.
“It was a terrifying time,” said Josie Rodriguez, who lives next to Car Source. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, they’re coming here.”
“I’m talking flames licking the sky. They were so big. And you hear, ‘boom, boom, boom’ – explosion, after explosion, after explosion,” she continued.
Rodriguez said he called 911, but dispatchers informed her the unrest made it unsafe for firefighters to come to the scene.
The lot was hit again the next day.
Anmol Khindri, a member of the family who owns the car dealership, said he estimated the damage from both nights to be upwards of $2.5 million. He said he felt nothing was done to prevent what happened to the family business.
“Everybody watched it burn to ashes,” Khindri told the paper. “Nobody did nothing about it – nothing.”
Prior to the destruction, Car Source had more than 140 vehicles available for sale, according to its website. Afterward, video showed the charred remains of dozens of cars — with only a few left unscathed.
Khindri called the trauma “horrific,” adding that he wants businesses to be protected from incidents that are out of their control. He said the insurance company has failed to provide immediate support and, as of last week, the destruction was labeled as “domestic terrorism,” according to Fox 6 Now.
“It’s easy for the government to say ‘alright, guys, you’re on your own. I’m sorry, your insurance doesn’t cover it. Oh, I’m sorry for your loss.’ No, that’s not an answer. This happened because they let it happen,” Khindri said.
He added that the public should instead be using their time to uplift the community.
“It is beautiful to see everyone supporting each other, but the damage is done, and the trauma is horrific,” Khindri said, according to Kenosha News.
A GoFundMe page has since been created and organized by Car Source, which has raised more than $23,000. The fundraiser said the “family business employed over 20 families” who worked on a “daily basis.”