Stronger than the Flames: Operator Saves Shop in Devastation-Struck Paradise, California

Like much of this industry, Paul Lyons built his quick lube shop from the ground up, with determination, grit and a whole lot of work. This past weekend, Lyons pulled off a miracle.

Lyons Express Oil & Lube is located in Paradise, California — or at least what’s now left of it. In one day, the Sierra Nevada foothill town of 27,000 founded in the 1800s was nearly burned to the ground by flames from a wildfire that moved so fast there was nothing firefighters could do.

When he was told to evacuate, and essentially say goodbye to the business he had built, Lyons, the former Marine, didn’t stand for that. His employees came and helped him build a fire row, and then he sent them home. Lyons was determined to save his business.

Lyons Express Oil & Lube before the fire.

In his mind, he was back in a war zone. Lyons spent 24 hours straight on top of a 20-foot ladder throwing buckets of whatever he could find — water, antifreeze, used coolant — on to the roof of his shop, to save it. Beating all the odds, that’s exactly what he did.

Lyons Express Oil & Lube, the police station and the fire station are about the only buildings still standing in Paradise, California. Lyons’ business is now standing 100-percent in the middle of nothing.

Unfortunately, Lyons lost his home and his classic car collection — which he’d been working on for the last 40 years. His mother-in-law’s home, which was next to his, “up the hill” from his shop, was also destroyed.

Lyons said his goal now is to get his lube center back up and running and help rebuild the town.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Lyons, the town of Paradise and all those affected by the California fires.

Tammy Neal

TAMMY NEAL has been the editor and creative team lead at National Oil and Lube News since 2012.