Fire still under investigation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire still under investigation

May 23, 2004

Pelham- No one was injured when the blaze erupted at Lucille Downhome Cooking and Charlie's Grocery next door, but store employees say the destruction has left them heartbroken.

"By the time the truck got there it was coming through the roof already," says Assistant Fire Chief Lonnie Clark.

It would take three more trips throughout the night to the Martin Luther King Boulevard businesses before they could be sure it was out.

"One roof in the middle of the place had a plywood roof with shingles, and a metal roof under it and a tongue and groove roof under it."

The three roofs were hard for the firemen to dig through which made it even more difficult for them to get to the fire's source.

"Everything is gone," says store manager Rushikala Patel.

Patel and her husband have run Charlie's Grocery for three years. She's still in disbelief.

"It's all damaged. It's not burned, but there's water and everything so that's makes it damaged. All my income is there."

The Patel's had planned on moving back to New York. They had even spoken to a man interested in taking over the business Friday, just 24 hours before the fire.

"Without money I can't do anything," Patel says sadly.

Now the family says their plans to relocate have literally gone up on smoke.

The owner of both Lucille's Downhome Cooking and Charlie's Grocery has owned the businesses for nearly 40 years. He says he's not sure if he will re-build.

Posted at 3:05 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com