Assessing the damage after fire damages DeRidder stores

By Lee Peck - bio | email

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - A day after fire rips through a DeRidder strip mall, workers at the Family Dollar are assessing the damage.

"Major damage, water damage, fire damage... It's just horrible damage in there," said Family Dollar Store Manager Doris Fritz.

The fire started Tuesday evening at the Family Dollar. Fritz says her assistant manager and a cashier were inside the store.

"They said the customer had alerted them that the warehouse was on fire. And I'm very proud of them, they got everybody out of the store fast," said Fritz. "Also a big thanks to all the firefighters who helped get it under control."

While more than 75 to 100 firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading outside of the Family Dollar, the other stores in the building couldn't escape the smoke.

"We got some severe smoke damage, we got water damage. It's an environmental problem," said All-Star Video owner Glen Lindsey. "The water is all on the floor, under the videos, under the horrors and the actions - the floor is soaken wet."

Lindsey believes none of his inventory was damaged, but says with no electricity he's losing business.

"It cuts into our economy, into our business. Pretty bad because we lose our customers," said Lindsey.

While everyone salvages what they can, yellow caution tape keeps customers out and business remains at a standstill.

"We want to reopen, but we don't know when, we don't know where, but we will reopen," said Fritz.

"We don't know what we're going to do. I'll just put it that way. We don't know if we are going to be able to open here, we don't know if they're going to let us reopen here. We don't know if we're going to have to do something else," said Lindsey.

A lot of questions as the answers to why the fire started remains under investigation.

Both Family Dollar employees and Lindsey say the owner of the building came out briefly to assess the damage. No word yet on if insurance will cover the fire.

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