Originally created 06/05/99

Fires reignite at furniture store



The charred remains of a Wednesday fire at a south Augusta furniture store are still causing problems.

Around 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. Friday, fire engines responded to emergency calls from Badcock Furniture at 2510 Peach Orchard Road. Both times, boxes were smoldering, said Battalion Chief Bryan McFeely of the Richmond County Fire Department.

The boxes were lying near the warehouse section in the back of the store, among blackened mattresses, box springs, night stands and dressers. The merchandise was destroyed when a fire ripped through the back of the store around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

"It was a big fire, and it was a bad fire," Battalion Chief McFeely said about the first fire.

Fans were placed in the front part of the store in an attempt to blow out some of the soot and smoke, said store managers.

But the fans may have caused the debris to reignite, Battalion Chief McFeely said.

So firefighters again soaked the pile of burnt furniture sitting behind the store.

Initial reports from the fire department said Wednesday's fire may have started when trash piled behind the store caught fire. Investigators were called to the scene, and the cause of the fire was ruled undetermined.

The fire investigator was again called to the scene Friday, because of the double calls to the fire department, Battalion Chief McFeely said.

The fire investigator, Jerry Asbach, said the fires were part of an ongoing investigation and the cause was still undetermined. He refused to comment on the investigation.

No one was injured in any of the fires.

Although the store must remain closed until it is cleaned out, the managers at Badcock Furniture are determined to prevail.

Tractor-trailers carrying new furniture from other Badcock stores are sitting in the parking lot. Employees are selling the furniture from a desk sitting on the sidewalk, and another part of the building is being opened as a makeshift headquarters.

"We're open for business -- same hours," said Mike Ramsey, the general manager.

Jessica Rinck covers crime for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (706) 823-3225 or jessica.rinck@augustachronicle.com