Morning Fire Destroys Luverne Landmark

SAL BIZFIRE PIC6An early morning fire left traffic on U.S. Highway 331 stopped and a historic Luverne building in ashes.

The 911 call came in around 4:15 AM. Luverne Volunteer Fire Department was at the scene in minutes, but quickly realized the fire was too large for one team to handle. Eight Volunteer Fire Departments from across Crenshaw County assisted LVFD. Thanks to their help, the blaze was mostly tamed.

But the once recognizable 80-year-old, white brick building and all its contents went up in smoke.

“It’s an old building with several layers of different roof material on it and a wood structure inside… It was just a tinder box I call it,” said LVFD Chief Bill McManigle.

The building changed ownership only two months ago. The new owners called the business the “This & That Thrift Store Too.” Duke Saley owns a pawn shop across the street from the store. While he isn’t close yet with the current owners of the building, he knew the old owners well.

“I know it hurt him,” Saley said of the man who once owned the store. “There were a lot of memories there, with his parents, his mom.  It’s a heartbreak when you see a part of your history, your family history, that’s gone.”

Despite the Volunteer Fire Departments’ quick response and enormous support, the building was engulfed with flames and left structurally unsound. The roof caved in and several cracks appeared on the exterior walls. All of these issues indicate the building will most likely be demolished.

“It’s a part of Luverne that people remember,” Saley added. “When you see that kind of destruction, as bad as it is, there’s not a lot you can say.”

There have been no reported injuries from the fire. Until the building walls cool, investigators cannot determine the cause of the blaze. Fire teams were at the scene periodically throughout the day to hose down remaining hot-spots and keep neighboring businesses safe.

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