UNION MILLS — A LaPorte County man had just returned home with his freshly tuned-up 1969 Chevy Camaro when the showroom condition car went up in flames.

No wonder Lyle Lowery was still grieving over his loss the following day and to make matters worse it happened on his birthday.

"I'm sick to my stomach. I can't believe this happened," said the 68-year-old Union Mills area man.

According to LaPorte County Police, firefighters from Noble Township were called Thursday night to put out the flames.

Lowery said he had just driven the black car with a red interior back from the shop in New Buffalo and pulled it into his barn at 6097 S. 500 West.

The 500 horsepower engine was still running when he and a friend noticed what appeared to be some type of liquid dripping from the radiator.

Lowery then noticed flames underneath the front passenger side, shut off the engine and put the car in neutral before shoving it out of the barn.

He grabbed a fire extinguisher but his efforts did little to stop the car from being engulfed, police said.

Lowery said he kept the car in top of the line condition since buying it 12 years ago and often took it to cruises in places like LaPorte and Valparaiso.

"It was a guy's dream car," said Lowery, who has insurance on the car. He valued the car about $100,000.

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