Fire destroys businesses in Donalsonville - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fire destroys businesses in Donalsonville

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Monday night's storm sparked a devastating fire in downtown Donalsonville that destroyed more than a half dozen businesses. Firefighters believe lightning struck one of the old buildings on Cherry Street, igniting a fire that spread quickly. No one was injured, but the downtown landscape is changed forever.

Lighting struck the area at around two Tuesday morning igniting the fire. "We were told that the fire wouldn't get into our building but evidently during the night, after that, fire got into the second story of those buildings," said Swanner Insurance Agent Pam Swords.

Seven businesses were destroyed. "We're gunna have to relocate. Somewhere here in town, but we'll get that done and get back started up as soon as possible," said Swords.

Even though the fire is all but put out, the scene is still dangerous. "Your structures that are still standing, there's a danger of the walls still falling," said Donalsonville Fire Chief Travis Brooks.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the half block of cherry near 3rd. "We didn't want it to jump over to this side of the alley and then we didn't want it to extend to the other side of the alley behind it," said Brooks.

Brooks says there was no way they could save these buildings. "This was almost a lost cause, but we had to fight it. We had to try to keep it contained to keep it from spreading to the exposures."

More than ten South Georgia fire departments responded to the call. Brooks says without all the help, there's a good chance the fire would have spread and destroyed even more of downtown Donalsonville.

The Donalsonville Fire Department will continue monitoring the scene. Part of the structure is still standing and there is a chance for a dangerous collapse.

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