A fire at a Washington Road carpet store forced police to reroute motorists Thursday afternoon.
The blaze was reported about 3 p.m. inside Fogel’s Fine Floors, 2825 Washington Road.
The warehouse of the business caught fire, damaging the rear of the building, according to Augusta-Richmond County Battalion Chief Bryan McFeely.
The fire – which remains under investigation – took about 25 minutes to contain.
“I haven’t looked through the warehouse, but I don’t believe the damage is too extensive,” McFeely said. “As for the connecting businesses, other than smoke drifting inside, I don’t see any visible damage.”
Forty-eight Richmond County firefighters responded, McFeely said, and seven businesses were forced to evacuate.
“I was getting my nails done (two doors down) when we started smelling smoke,” Sherry Moxley said. “Once we were told to evacuate, we saw two fire trucks respond to the back of Fogel’s carpet.”
Nearly six hours after the original fire was reported, neighboring businesses were forced to evacuate again about 9 p.m. when part of the Fogel’s roof caught fire.
“We were searching for hotspots when part of the insulation caught on fire,” McFeely said. “This was a result of the original fire and with a roof this big it’s not uncommon for this to happen.”
The blaze was extinguished in less than five minutes, McFeely said.
“We’ll probably be here for most of the night,” he said. “In a building like this, the salvage and overhaul will take a lot of time but it’s our job to make sure everything’s secure.”
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire has not been determined.
According to a statement from Richmond County Sheriff’s Office deputies, traffic was rerouted from Washington Road to Alexander Drive toward River Watch Parkway.
Drivers leaving downtown were urged to take River Watch to avoid congestion.
The blaze forced the fire department to run equipment across the 2700 and 2800 blocks of Washington Road, a police statement said.