‘I Know This Much Is True:’ Ellenville car dealership in fire featured



An enormous fireplace destroyed a used automotive dealership on Most important Avenue in Ellenville Thursday morning on Might 9, 2019.

Poughkeepsie Journal

After a decade as co-owner of a used automotive dealership in Ellenville, life was trying good for Levi Hecht. 

“It began in Ellenville as a small little dealership and it began constructing itself up, the rhythm began working,” mentioned Hecht, co-owner of the 613 Automotive Group. “We constructed a buyer base. We opened a second location in Monticello, a 3rd location in New Hampton. Issues have been going nice.”

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And issues obtained higher.

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“Someday, which appeared prefer it was despatched straight from God, it wasn’t one thing we tried to search out, somebody drove by all loopy and located this place they have been nuts over for an HBO sequence,” Hecht recalled. “They mentioned ‘Can we take photos?’ From there, issues simply constructed up in essentially the most optimistic approach for the enterprise, everybody working for the enterprise, the village. It was very thrilling.”


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The one who occurred to drive by that day was a location scout for the HBO series “I Know This Much Is True,” starring Mark Ruffalo. 

The manufacturing crew for the sequence arrange store within the Hudson Valley in October 2018. Plans have been later set in place for a 28-day run on the 613 Automotive Group on Most important Avenue in Ellenville, with 5 days for filming, Hecht mentioned.

However every little thing modified not lengthy after midnight on Might 9, 2019. A fire consumed the dealership, destroying its 10,000-square-foot facility and dozens of cars — some owned by the enterprise, some antiques that have been a part of the manufacturing.

Scenes shot on the dealership will probably be featured throughout the second episode of the six-part restricted sequence Sunday.

However the pleasure Hecht at one time thought he would really feel seeing his enterprise on display screen went up in smoke with the hearth.

One 12 months later, the blaze stays below investigation by Ulster County fireplace officers, in response to Assistant Deputy County Govt Dan Torres.

The 613 Automotive Group has relocated to a distinct spot in Ellenville. After clearing the positioning — a $200,000 enterprise — the lot sits vacant and Hecht hopes to sometime rebuild.

He mentioned he watched final Sunday’s debut episode — the dealership had a blink-and-you-miss it cameo — and plans to observe this Sunday, although with blended feelings.

“It was one thing that, we’re imagined to very excited and proud, which turned to feelings of, truthfully, a devastation as a result of the place is gone,” he mentioned. I”m probably not certain really feel about it. It hurts rather a lot.”

The dealership will seem once more on the fourth episode scheduled to air Might 31.

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“Thank God the hearth had nothing to do with something in any unfavourable mild within the constructing,” Hecht mentioned. When requested what brought about the hearth and if HBO was in charge, he declined remark.

HBO mentioned, “The investigation into the reason for the hearth is within the arms of the insurance coverage firms concerned and is ongoing.” Requested which insurance coverage firms, HBO declined to elaborate.

Hollywood involves the Hudson Valley

“I Know This A lot Is True” filmed in numerous components of the Hudson Valley, over six months final 12 months.

Together with the automotive dealership, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, Metropolis of Poughkeepsie, Vassar College within the City of Poughkeepsie, Stewart Airport in Orange County and Minnewaska State Park Protect in Ulster County are featured places.


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On the automotive dealership in Ellenville, scenes function actor Rob Huebel, a automotive salesman, showing with Ruffalo as he portrays Dominick Birdsey. Huebel’s character, Leo, is married to the sister of Dominick’s ex-wife, who’s performed by Kathryn Hahn. HBO describes Leo as Huebel as a “car-dealer, want-to-be actor, and Dominick’s greatest pal.”

Following the hearth, some inside scenes have been filmed at Umbra Phases in Newburgh. 

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The total manufacturing generated 260 full-time jobs; pumped greater than $15 million into the native financial system; and performed a pivotal position in the Hudson Valley’s film and television industry, which generated greater than $46 million for the regional financial system in 2019. 

HBO describes the sequence as a “household saga that follows the parallel lives of an identical twin brothers in a narrative of betrayal, sacrifice and forgiveness set towards the backdrop of 20th-century America.” Ruffalo portrays twin brothers Dominick Birdsey, a home painter, and Thomas Birdsey, a paranoid schizophrenic who leans closely on his brother for help.

A telephone name at 1 a.m. 

Hecht at round 1 a.m. on Might 9, 2019, acquired a telephone name telling him there was a fireplace at his automotive dealership, which sat 5 blocks from his house. 

“I jumped off the bed,” he mentioned. “By the point I obtained there, it was nonetheless an actual small fireplace — and it simply actually, actually escalated tremendous fast.”

The hearth ravaged the 10,650-square-foot steel-framed, cinder-block constructing, which featured a showroom, a restore storage and storage for autos and components, in response to police.

The blaze additionally displaced three households dwelling close by because it prompted a response from 15 fireplace departments from Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties, in addition to quite a few regulation enforcement businesses. There have been no accidents.

The positioning after the hearth was marked by twisted metal beams, sooty cinder blocks, and the almost indistinguishable remnants of charred HBO manufacturing trailers, grip vans and movie gear. The blaze took out vintage automobiles that have been on web site for the filming. Hecht, after arriving, known as his contact with HBO.

“I mentioned, ‘You have to get somebody over right here with the keys to maneuver automobiles,'” he recalled. “They have been in Poughkeepsie, an hour-plus away. By the point they obtained right here, the firefighters did not allow them to get shut sufficient. That was over.”

Added Hecht, “I most likely should not say it however, humorous factor was, the keys have been within the automobiles. They left them within the visors.”

The dealership additionally misplaced automobiles, in addition to a pink Cadillac Brougham that Hecht bought and had shipped from North Carolina. He was planning on giving it to his father — who wears a pink yarmulke and solely drives pink automobiles — as a birthday current per week later. Hecht additionally misplaced a 1916 yellow Ford. 

When HBO took over the positioning for filming, the 613 Automotive Group had relocated in Ellenville, with a trailer, to a distinct plot of land on Most important Avenue that had previously been house to a Burger King. After the hearth, the previous Burger King was renovated and the property is now house to the enterprise. 

Because the previous web site stands vacant, Hecht mentioned he hopes to rebuild on the property, which has been house to a automotive dealership since 1965. That was when the Collier Motor Automobile Firm opened operations. Collier closed in 2009 amid GM’s monetary troubles.

Now, as Hecht watches the sequence, he can not help however look again on the final 12 months. 

“Sadly, it was a very, terribly robust 12 months,” he mentioned. “It actually took a number of wind out of the corporate… We’re in enterprise. We stayed in enterprise. It is simply been a really, very robust 12 months… It sort of  took a part of everybody within the firm.”

John W. Barry: jobarry@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4822, Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo

Learn or Share this story: https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/information/native/2020/05/15/hbo-mark-ruffalo-i-know-this-much-is-true-ellenville-car-dealer-fire/5197795002/

— to www.poughkeepsiejournal.com

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