May 21, 2010 11:02:00 AM
WEST POINT -- West Point and Clay County firefighters were on the scene of a raging fire until 1:40 a.m. today.
The building housing Dollar General and Wardrobe Creations on Highway 465 alternate caught fire around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and quickly grew out of control. West Point Fire Chief Johnny Littlefield reported no injuries, but the building was a total loss.
"It was a real hoss. Real hard to get out," he said of the blaze.
Heavy smoke and flames could be seen coming from the store by the time firefighters arrived on the scene. Littlefield says his men attempted to make an interior attack to put the fire out at the source, but the fire began in the northeast corner of the building and the entrance, located on the west side, was too far away and smoke was too thick. The cause of the fire is unknown.
"After 30 minutes, it just turned into a defensive attack to contain it," said Littlefield.
The West Point Fire Department was assisted in the effort by Clay County volunteer firefighters and a pumper truck from Unit 100.
West Point Mayor Scott Ross, who owns the Dollar General, said the WPFD did an "incredible job" containing the blaze.
"The wind was blowing pretty hard, and it could have easily gotten out of hand and possibly damaged other structures. I just watched (the firefighters'') teamwork. It was clear they''re well trained," he said.
Traffic on Highway 45 Alternate was stopped while the store, which is located at 402 Highway 45 Alternate, burned.
Robin Pace, manager of the Dollar General, reportedly asked another employee if they smelled cigarette smoke approximately 15 minutes before a customer approached the front of the store and said "Your store''s on fire."
"She looked back and could see the flames so she evacuated the store," said Littlefield.
Unfortunately, Pace left her own car keys in the store and part of the store''s roof fell on her car.
Ross said another small blaze sprang up this morning and was quickly put down by the WPFD. He''s been in contact with Dollar General corporate representatives and hopes to rebuild the store on the same site.
Ross bought the building in 1996 and said business had been doing well.
"It''s a great location, but it was an old building. Some people are going to be out of work for a while, but I think everybody''s goal is to get it rebuilt and reopen as soon as possible."
West Point Citizen commented at 5/21/2010 2:39:00 PM:
I was at the fire and couldn't help but notice how busy the ambulance crews were that were on scence. It literally seemed like they were going on emergency calls every ten minutes. I later found out that they received seven or eight 911 calls in a little over an hour. Thanks guys we are glad to have you in West Point.
Curious commented at 5/22/2010 1:22:00 AM:
Did anyone happen to find the person that said the store's on fire?? Seems a bit peculiar to me.
DoubleCurious commented at 5/22/2010 3:28:00 PM:
This is curious --isn't the store open at 7:30 pm. Something smells foul about this.....was it deliberate...was it to cover something up...was there theft??? Maybe more to the story than I see but sure sounds strange.
Tracy commented at 5/22/2010 5:36:00 PM:
I did notice the ambulances were running around like crazy. I know several guys that work for the ambulance service in WP and they all seem to be really good folks.
Daniel commented at 5/23/2010 11:42:00 PM:
I noticed that the fire chief didn't name the ambulance service when he listed the agencies involved at the scene. I guess the IVs started on the firemen started themselves??
CREATED EQUAL commented at 5/25/2010 2:06:00 PM:
I drive through WEST POINT twice a day, and monday I notice that Dollar General had burned down. That was perhaps the biggest EYE SORE WEST POINT had on HWY 45 and to find out it was owned by MAYOR SCOTT ROSS,I was just astounded. I do have some friends who own property on hwy 45 and I have heard of hardships imposed on these businesses by MAYOR ROSS and his so call CLEAN-UP PANEL. How did the CLEAN-UP PANEL over look this EYE SORE? I understand that law is equal to all and applied equally. Well maybe now WEST POINT will get that industry that won't come to WEST POINT because HWY 45 LOOKS so bad. I will close with this MAYOR ROSS YOU HAVE 14 DAYS TO GET THIS MESS CLEANED UP, I DON'T WANT TO LOOK AT THIS BURNED UP MESS ANY LONGER! Which shouldn't be hard for a PIG FARMERS SON or you could pay someone to clean it up from the money you get from helping PEOPLE. Everything written here is the truth, he is a pig farmers son and advertisements on WCBI say he helps people. Ordinances are laws imposed by cities and if the people of these cities are not careful they can take your rights away!
J commented at 5/25/2010 3:57:00 PM:
..excuse me for tipping off the subject a bit but....whats wrong with being a "pig farmers son"?
Maybe I'm missing something.
CREATED EQUAL commented at 5/25/2010 5:06:00 PM:
Not a thing is wrong with being a pig farmers son or farmer. It's when you forget the values of being that person.
BB commented at 5/26/2010 9:11:00 PM:
Some very fine folks come from farming of all kinds true. But it's like they said, when you forget those values it makes you a sad and different person. Seems like all those values have been lost on this farming son. When will all the political favors stop. Can't someone or some group look into all this stuff and stop it? Wonder how much insurance he had on the place? Just curious..
simplyme commented at 6/3/2010 12:11:00 PM:
My shop was Wardrobe Treasures right next to Dollar General, while people can speculate as to what or who started the fire we should keep in mind that maybe "this suspicious man" who alerted the store manager of the fire was just simply a man trying to keep things calm in order for everyone to get out safely. I'd like to think & believe it was that way verses what is rumored. All I can say, for what its worth, the fire could have been electrical since the roof gave both Dollar General & my store problems, found this that out shortly after I had moved in, I had to dry clean some clothing & cover clothing in the area's of the leaks while waiting for the roofing professionals to come back from vacation, but the fire came first. Water would get into my ceiling lights after the rains and cause them not to come on in areas, but then later the lights would come on. Since the Fire Marshall wasn't called in, I'm clueless as to what Delaney Investigations out of Columbus MS., found as the cause of the fire, but I'm not privi to that info. Lastly, I do appreciate those who offered help & support during this devastating time in my life, not only did I loose everything to water & smoke damage, but my spirit is so badly bruised right now. I was attending my son's West Point High graduation @ MSU in Starkville. The ceremony had just ended, so I powered on my cell & found 31 missed calls & tons of text messages all saying the same "your store is on fire" it rang all the way from Starkville to West Point to the point where I had to shut it off. Raced backed to West Point like I could actually do something. Missed out on the once in a lifetime pictures with my son who relocated to IL the following morning, my son said to me after he & his father made it to the scene, "Mom, I think this is a sign for you to come back to IL too" With my store fully stocked & ready for graduation weekend the fire blew my Grand opening announcement that I had talked with Daily Times Leader reporter Ms Davita early in the week, blew my graduation concert for the kids, it blew everything! If it wasn't for Chief Littlefield, his firemen along with only a handful of people who really do appear to care I'd of probably lost it by now, it's times like this when you know where you stand and for me I'm out in the heat trying to figure out what direction to go, so I continue to pray that's all I can do and truly all I can believe in right now.
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