Cordele funeral home a total loss after fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cordele funeral home a total loss after fire

Posted: Updated:
Chief Augusta Telfair, Cordele Fire Department Chief Augusta Telfair, Cordele Fire Department
Isaac Owens, J.S. Williams Funeral Home Admin. Assistant Isaac Owens, J.S. Williams Funeral Home Admin. Assistant
CORDELE, GA (WALB) -

Sate fire investigators continue to sift through the ashes for answers in an early Wednesday morning fire that destroyed one of Cordele's oldest businesses.

It took firefighters nearly 4 hours to extinguish the blaze at J.W. Williams Funeral home, which they believe started on the second floor. A smoldering structure surrounded by piles of ashes and rubble is all that remains of a piece of Cordele's history.

"J.W. Williams funeral home has been part of this community since 1918. This is probably one of the oldest  businesses in the community," said Isaac Owens, J.W. Williams Funeral Home Administrative Assistant. 

20 firefighters responded to the business at 407 W. 17th Ave. after getting a call around 3:30am.

"Shortly after their arrival the building was vented and they had flames showing through the roof," said Chief Augusta Telfair, Cordele Fire Department.

Investigators said the blaze began in the second floor offices before spreading through the attic and to the rest of the building."It appears it may be electrical.  We're still investigating.  We're gonna try to determine whether it's electrical or what it was," said James Atkins, State Fire Marshal Investigator.

Chief Telfair said it wasn't easy to extinguish, and firefighters had to tear down a chain link fence to access flames coming from behind the building.  "We had like 2 or 3 layers of ceiling and flooring because this building is a very old building, it had been here for quite a while," he said.

An expansion to the business, which contractors say was 95 percent complete, was also destroyed.

"We have four offices that we were gonna house in the new chapel area as well.  Wave our equipment in the chapel to again better serve our families that we've always been working with."  (Isaac Owens, J.W. Williams Funeral Home Administrative Assistant).

The state fire marshal said no foul play is suspected. He says it could take be a while before they find a definite cause. No one was injured, and no bodies were inside. 

As investigators search for the cause, Owens said the funeral home will operate out of Mount Calvary Baptist Church temporarily to continue to serve the community.  The company has set up a call center, but is using its same number.  You can reach them at (229) 273-2683, or visit their temporary offices at 108 S. Joewright Drive.  

 

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.