BIG STONE GAP, Va. - The Southwest Virginia Town of Big Stone Gap had two major downtown fires in the last six months. The latest fire destroyed two buildings that housed an automobile parts store.
This follows a fire in September that gutted an apartment building, which has since been torn down. The latest fire will result in more demolition downtown.
Just a skeleton remains of an old historic building in downtown Big Stone Gap after a major fire destroyed it on March 3. It once housed a NAPA Auto Parts store. Click here to view photos from the scene.
Nearly a month later, crews plan to tear it down. "They're scheduling the building for demolition this week. We're going to have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the process. That's the first thing you've got to remember, the building is scheduled for demolition. We don't know if the owner has any plans after the building is demolished," town manager Pat Murphy says.
It took fire fighters two days to put out the flames after it rekindled. It didn't affect the business right next door, but there were some anxious moments when it rekindled and they had to be evacuated. "By the time we got across the street, there were flames going probably 30 feet in the air. That really scared me, because the fire trucks weren't here. I actually saw that fire and that's what scared me," Freda Bishop, owner of Freda's Magic Mirror, said.
With the demolition of this building and another one just down the street following a fire last September, it will leave two empty spots in downtown Big Stone Gap.
"It's a concern in the downtown area, because you certainly don't want to lose these old historic buildings. They do have a character of their own, and they're hard to replace," Murphy said.
Investigators still have not determined what caused the two fires.