Overnight Fire Destroys Building Containing Several Businesses

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EDMONSON COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- An overnight fire destroyed a building in downtown Brownsville that many call a landmark.

"The lights just went out, and then my mom said there's lights outside, like siren lights. So I come outside, and the blaze was over that tree," said Emily Kirk, who lives on the road the fire happened on.

About 11:30 Saturday night, flames ripped through the building on the corner of Washington St. and Cross Main.

"Had pretty much an all-night scene. We finished up the attack process probably about 4 o'clock this morning, and we've just been hanging around kicking out the hot spots and what have you at this time," said Chief Jerry Meredith, of the Brownsville Fire Department.

It left behind nothing but smoldering ashes.

"Extreme amount of heat and the heavy metal roof and everything collapsing on it. It was really hard to get through to the seed of the fire," Meredith said.

Several businesses were operating inside the building -- meaning the owners will have to start over.

"Barber shop, beauty shop, comic book store and game store, and I think there was a pet grooming facility in there also," Meredith said.

People living nearby said they were terrified as they watched the flames grow.

"So I didn't know if they were going to evacuate everybody. I didn't know what was going on. I mean, those flames were really, really big," Kirk said.

The fire got so hot it damaged nearby buildings -- melting signs, siding and cracking windows at the bank.

"House fires, field fires, stuff like that, we get, but you get larger buildings, for smaller fire departments, it's a pretty big chore," Meredith explained.

Not only was it one of the larger buildings in town, it was also one of the oldest.

"You know, that's a landmark. It's been there since I was little -- even when my sister was and she's older than me -- it's been there forever. So, I have no idea. It just kind of depressed me, because there's not very many landmarks here in Edmonson County," Kirk said.

Officials said, at this point, they're not sure what started the fire.

The state fire marshall will investigate what caused the fire this week.

Meredith said he appreciates the help they had from other departments.

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