The life’s work of Andreas Lerch, the tenant of the vehicle hall and old-timer specialist, seems to be irretrievably destroyed. No insurance is going to accept the damage, which amounts to 300.000 Euro.
Last Sunday 2 buildings belonging to a farmstead in Traundorf burnt down to their foundations. The damage estimated to be worth more than a million Euros was caused by a neighborhood boy playing with fire.
Contrary to differing reports the victims of the fire were informed during last week that apparently neither the perpetrator himself nor his parents are third party liability insured. The damage caused to the building will most probably be partly covered by the owner’s fire insurance.
However, the old-timer specialist Andreas Lerch from Traunstein will most likely have to bear a material damage of more than 300.000 Euros on his own. Since the age of five he has been spending most of his time in the garage, tinkering around with cars – preferably old vehicles. The old-timer mechanic had fitted the hall to a high-end hobby workshop with expensive special tools. There he had kept his own exclusive old-timers besides those of his friends and like-minded people.
Now he is standing in front of the smoking ruins of his possessions and livelihood. “Razed to the ground, burned down, nothing left”, the 36-years-old summarizes his impressions, visibly prostrated. During a motorcycle tour in South Tyrol he had been informed about the fire via a mobile phone-call. “I turned and went home straight away. On top of it all I was so upset that I even had a crash and now my motorbike is broken as well.”
And as if that wasn’t enough: his Audi, the „everyday vehicle“, which had been parked in front of the building during his bike tour, went up in flames, just like the rare jewels, which were stored inside the hall: a VW Bulli transporter, worth 100.000 Euros, a Porsche 718, an original and unrestored VW “Brezel” Beetle, built in 1950, a Ducati Monster, a VW Beetle with folding top from 1954, an Alfa Spider Giulia Convertible and many, many other very exceptional old-timers and family heirlooms were to be found in the hall. In addition, 18 engines, six of them with high-end tuning.
Lerch is devastated: “I took charge of the collector’s items and partly original cars of my friends and now I end up empty-handed. For, no insurance is going to pay for the material loss sustained. Neither the boy responsible for the damage nor his parents are covered by third-party insurance. And according to Lerch’s lawyer there is little hope to receive compensation payment, by other means, either. Lerch’s own insurance is not liable. After all, it was not him who has caused the damage. „I am truly ashamed“, Lerch concludes his despair with a tearful voice. “I haven’t been able to sleep and I have no idea, how I should ever compensate for the damage and sentimental value that was kept in the hall. It is not wealthy people who had stored their cars in my premises, but enthusiasts, who had invested every cent of their savings in the vehicles.”
Not only the pure material damage would have to be taken into account, but also the time, know-how and emotions contained in the partly prize-awarded vehicles. Since 1995 he had been working on the premium vehicles, in 2003 he had rented the hall.
The owner of the burnt up VW transporter immediately scrambled up some money to get Lerch some new wheels. Other friends of the cross-border old-timer network have installed a donation account on his behalf. So far there are no damage claims from the other car owners. “I want the landlord and everybody, who had stored his car in my premises, to have his percentage share of the donations. No matter, whether it is my fault or not, I certainly do not want to harm anyone else,” Lerch explains. The stadium announcer of Wacker Burghausen, Axel Ostrowski, helps as well: “I have organized a benefit soccer game in order to give Andi support.”