Burned building demolished

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2000

News Editor

Like mechanical dinosaurs, backhoes demolished what was remaining of Youngs Fashion yesterday after a fire destroyed the building Wednesday night.

Troy Fire Chief Ray Rhodes, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, Troy City Council member Johnny Witherington, the building inspector, and the state fire marshal made the decision to tear down the Youngs Fashion building after the fire marshal declared the building unsafe.

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Hae Bok Chang of Montgomery owned the building.

"We have no idea right now as to what started the fire," Rhodes said. "We haven’t been able to get inside because it was so dangerous. Once the roof is down and there is no danger we will be able to get inside the building and try to find out what started it."

Rhodes said the Troy Fire Department received the call about 5:20 p.m. and the fire was "under control" about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, but some of the firefighters stayed on the scene until about noon Thursday. Along with the Troy Fire Dept., Brundidge, Goshen, Spring Hill, Henderson, Meeksville, Ariton, Luverne, Marley Mill and Ozark Fire Departments and Sikorsky Support Services Inc. responded to the call.

"It was under control when we felt like it wouldn’t spread anymore," Rhodes said.

Firefighters were able to maintain control of the blaze and keep it from spreading to other buildings on the block just off the square in downtown Troy. Even though the fire was contained, other buildings on the block were damaged by smoke and water.

Earl Ellis, who owns several buildings on the block including Landmark Realty, said there was smoke and water damage to Landmark Realty, Ed’s Barber and Style Shop, Troy School of Dance, Victorian Heirlooms and Newman Distributors.

"Ed’s Barber and Style Shop is out of business until the damages are repaired," Ellis said. "I talked to Lanier this morning and he said he has plans to reopen. Windows were broken in Newman’s and there was a lot of smoke and water damage in the other buildings, but we already have people coming into get them cleaned up."

When the fire started Lanier Beasley (a.k.a the Wig Doctor) was cutting hair as usual at Ed’s Barber and Style Shop located below Landmark Realty, and didn’t realize the severity of the fire above him.

"One of the Wise boys kept yelling down to me to get out that there was a fire," Beasley said. "I asked him if the fire department was here and he said yes and I figured I was okay. I had late appointments as usual and was cutting Chris Booker’s hair. I kept cutting until my feet started getting soggy, and I told Chris ‘after I finish trimming your wig, I think we ought to get out of here,’ and he agreed."

Although Beasley is out of the barbering business in Troy for a while, he said he will be working a few days a week in Luverne.

"I just hope I don’t get lazy," he said. "I haven’t had a vacation since 1976 so I guess this is a good time for one."

Water was knee-deep in Ed’s Barber and Style Shop, and when Beasley began moving items out of the building most of the water had been pumped out. He said all of the tile would probably have to be replaced, but it could have been worse.

"The fire departments did a wonderful job," Beasley said. "I’d rather have a lot of water than have ashes."

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford echoed Beasley’s compliments of the fire departments that responded to the fire.

"The fire departments did a wonderful job," Lunsford said. "All of the volunteer fire departments in the area and Sikorsky responded. It is a great accomplishment that we are not looking at the entire block being demolished today, and it is because of the efforts of the firefighters to keep it from spreading."

Lunsford not only complimented the fire departments, but the community as well for pulling together during a crisis.

"There were lines of local people helping businesses get clothes and other items out of Victorian Heirlooms, the jewelry store and the attorney’s office," he said. "It was good to see the community come together."

The fire is under investigation by the Troy Police Department and the State Fire Marshall.