Fire Destroys Retail Store - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/11/06-Rusk

Fire Destroys Retail Store

Fire destroys a well known retail store in a small East Texas town. The blaze started around 8:00 a.m. at the Family Dollar store located on North Main Street in Rusk. That's just off Highway 69.

Lisha Whitton was working across the street from the store at a Conoco gas station when the fire started. "There was just a customer that came up to the front desk and said there's a fire," said Whitton. A gas pump was blocking Whitton's view, but when she stood up she saw the flames.

"It looked like it was maybe at one of the check out stands and there was a little bit of smoke coming out of the top, but it wasn't really bad, so I thought well I'll call the fire department," said Whitton.

By the time firefighters got to the store it was too late to save anything inside. "When we arrived on the scene the fire had already vented through the front of the building," said Rusk Fire Department Chief Wayne Morgan. "Apparently it had been burning for awhile. It probably almost burnt itself out and caused the windows to burn out."

Chief Morgan says the fire was extremely hot and dangerous. "You have all sorts of aerosol cans, bottles of cleaner," said Chief Morgan. "Things of that nature that are explosive in nature and they were going off." It took three fire departments and 35 firefighters, two hours to get the fire out. Whitton says the store will be greatly missed.

"Being a small town we don't have a lot of places to shop," said Whitton. "I've had a lot of customers this morning talking to me about you know, we loved our dollar store."

Fortunately, however, no one was injured and firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding businesses. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The store was not open when the fire started.

Molly Reuter reporting, mreuter@kltv.com

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