Investigators examine Dollar General fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Investigators examine Dollar General fire

July 19, 2005

Fitzgerald-- Several hundred thousand dollars worth of merchandise was destroyed when a popular Fitzgerald discount store caught fire Monday afternoon.

Investigators were back on the scene Tuesday trying to find out who or what caused the blaze, but they aren't the only ones who want some answers.

The building is still standing, but none of the products in the Central Avenue Dollar General store will be salvaged. Even though it had only been there a year and a half, loyal customers say they are sad to see the store go.

Broken glass, melted products and charred debris litter what used to be a busy Dollar General store. "My husband and I both come to this one a good bit," says Mildred McEwen-Campbell.

Customers who frequented the store say admit being shocked to see burned building. "We just got up here and found out this morning about it," Eddie Paul says. "That's just rough. Something like that should never happen."

Even though there are other discount stores in town, including another Dollar General, shopper say the Central Avenue store was just more convenient. "If I went to the grocery store here I went there. It was real good that it was together," says McEwen-Campbell.

"It's close to the Harvey's and it's more convenient than the other store was," adds Paul.

Dollar General employees met with demolition crews and the Department of Agriculture officials to determine how to properly dispose of the products.

While investigators know the blaze started in the paper towel aisle of the store, they still aren't sure how it started, and aren't ruling out arson. "We've got some good possibilities that we're working on right now, and we're going to try to put this thing together hopefully today or tomorrow," says Detective Tommy Clark of the Fitzgerald Police Department.

Dollar General officials say they will likely relocate the store's employees to other stores until another location is found for what used to be the Central Avenue store.

If you have any information about the fire contact the law enforcement. Tips will be kept anonymous.

Feedback: news@walb.com