image: Global News/Screengrab

In Langley, British Columbia, a fire engulfed a building filled with over 40 classic cars valued at around $2.3 million, Canadian news site Global News reports. The footage of the destruction is not for the faint of heart.

When fire crews arrived at a shop on 216 Street in Langley early Wednesday morning, alarms were blaring, and flames were “through the roof,” Bruce Ferguson, Langley’s deputy fire chief, told the Global News. All he and his crew could do was take a “defensive posture” as the building—filled with rare automotive gems—burned to a crisp.

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Here’s a look at the aftermath of the fire, whose cause remains unknown:

The owner of the collection of approximately 40 cars—which Global News says includes a “61 Chevy Bel-Air Convertible, a ’68 Camaro, and six Corvettes”—Garry Cassidy, was attending a car auction in Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson according to other news sources) when he learned that his garage had gone up in flames. Understandably, he was crushed, telling Global News:

I’ve always been a big car guy...but I don’t think my wife and I could have been more upset if we had lost a child.

Its not about the money; a couple of those cars cannot be replaced. Write me a check for whatever, you can’t replace the cars.

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He went on, telling the news site that he used the garage specifically to house his collection, and that a number of people often got in touch with him just to have a glance at his amazing vehicles. He described to Global News just how important the vehicles were to him and his wife, saying:

The more we bought, the more we wanted to buy...They’re like our children.

Local newspaper Surrey-Now Leader posted this video from the South Frasier News Services (which specializes in “breaking news video & photography from throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley”) onto its website, apparently showing Cassidy’s garage spewing flames high into the air:

The whole story is just sad, mostly for the Cassidys (for whom we should all “pour one [quart of oil] out,”), and also for car culture as a whole, as it lost some real gems, including—according to Canadian car website Driving—a pair of 1955 Pontiac Chieftain models, one of which was a Safari wagon:

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Photo: John LLoyd/Flickr

Just thinking about that beautiful machine in that giant fire makes me want to weep.