Fire destroys two LaGrange businesses
People in LaGrange watched in awe all afternoon as two downtown businesses burned to the ground. The fire started in the back of Family Dollar and spread to Gould Sports, an embroidery business next door.
By the afternoon, a cloud of smoke hung over the town and firefighters knew this was more than they alone could handle.
“It was about 10 o'clock, I heard the sirens and trucks go by,” Trina Beechy said.
“I had no idea it'd turn into this,” Jeff Hayes said.
A parade of trucks and a cloud of smoke in downtown LaGrange.
“I can't wait for it to be over,” Hayes said. Hayes works next door to where the fire started at Spreuer and Son Inc.
Firefighters spent hours battling a raging fire that spread from Family Dollar next door to Gould Sports.
“It has old timbers in it. Those burn hot and they burn for a long time,” LaGrange Volunteer Fire Chief David Elick said.
As the fire grew, truck after truck from neighboring townships and counties showed up. From the ground and from the ladder, firefighters hammered the rafters with water, but couldn't save the two businesses.
“This is a small little community. We don't have a lot. And to lose this building downtown, this is a sad day for our town,” John Schmidt said.
On Tuesday evening, crews continued to stockpile thousands of gallons of water, desperately needed, because Tuesday's fire put such a strain on LaGrange's municipal water system.
“LaGrange is dry right now,” Beechy said. “They said they had to go to a farmer's irrigation system and the toll road to get water.”
By dinner time, the 100-year-old former bank was a ruin. But the water and manpower stopped the flames from consuming a third business, and for this day, it was enough.
“And I can’t thank our local businesses enough for the help they give us in times like this,” Chief Elick said.
Because of the strain on the municipal water system, people in LaGrange were being told to boil their water at home.
Neighbors say it appears to have started in the basement of the store.
The fire marshal will try to pinpoint a cause, but what's left of the buildings will likely be leveled.