Pelham fire damage extensive - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pelham fire damage extensive

September 1, 2003

Pelham-- Early estimates from Sunday's massive fire in Pelham are climbing into the million-dollar range.

Fred's Dollar Store, the Movie Gallery, and a Subway were destroyed--fire investigators say it is a total loss. But just how the fire started is still unclear.

Nearly 24-hours after the fire began, Pelham firefighters are still putting out the blaze. Sgt. Sam Fenn says, And yeah you can see all these boxes stacked up it's just hard to get to the fire down there."

$500,000 in inventory at Fred's Dollar Store was destroyed. Next door, a brand-new Subway that was scheduled to open in three weeks, ruined. The Movie Gallery, just three months old, also a complete loss.

"We've worked so hard the last four years in obtaining businesses and this was one of the first and now then it's destroyed." Pelham Mayor Joe Caldwell says the strip mall, that's not yet a year old, was a signal of progress for the small town, "So now then it's a complete loss, it's a disaster to our little town, but we have to overcome it."

Overcome the fire by rebuilding--the burned-out structure cannot be salvaged, but there is talk of Fred's buying an empty lot nearby. The Mayor says the city has even offered up several empty buildings as a temporary spot for Fred's. Whatever the solution, Fred's will likely rebuild in Pelham--some good news after a devastating fire.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Posted at 4:40 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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