The owner of an Edmonton autobody shop is reeling after a fire destroyed much of his uninsured garage.

Desmond Gray has owned Alberta Autobody, located on 104th Street and 79th Avenue, for a decade.

Earlier today, Gray says he was customizing one of his own cars in the garage bay when a metal plate fell onto a gas line.

“The next minute I just saw flames,” said Gray. From there, things quickly got worse.

“One of the worst things I did was try to use the air line to try and put it out. It spread the flame under the car.”

Gray said he then tried to put out the fire using an extinguisher, but was unable to get it under control.

Smoke could be seen pouring from an upstairs window, according to bystander Les Michaelson.

Desmond Gray

“That’s my life savings,” said Desmond Gray, owner of Alberta Autobody. (CBC)

“When I first got here ... the flames were big inside the building, licking up the front of the building and it looked pretty bad,” he said. “There was a couple of really big bangs that happened could have been the fuel tanks inside the car.”

Seven fire trucks and a hazmat truck were called to put out the flames. When they arrived, Capt. Reg Axani said smoke and flames were billowing out of the overhead doors causing significant damage.

According to Gray, his insurance expired last month when he failed to pay $49 he owed his insurer.

“That’s my life savings,” said Gray, who moved to Canada from South Africa 11 years ago.

There is no estimate yet about how much the damage will cost to repair.