Business Owners React to Shopping Center Fire in Eastland

Published 04/16 2014 09:26AM

Updated 04/16 2014 09:46AM

Business owners of Shady Oaks Shopping Center in Eastland stood outside in disbelief as they watched firefighters battle a massive fire late Tuesday afternoon. 

All of the fire departments in Eastland county responded to the call before 4 p.m. 

"It started as a small fire and it quickly grew to the attic," says Chelsea Holley, employee of Playoff Sports.

According to Holley, she was warming a baby bottle inside the store when the microwave blew a fuse. Before she knew it, everyone had to evacuate immediately.

"I quickly got out as fast as I could" says Holley. "My priority was to get my 11-month old baby out of there."

With her was the owner of Playoff Sports, Pat Stewart, who would've celebrated the store's 30th anniversary this October. Despite the damage to her store, she's more thankful no one was injured.

"I'm just glad that everyone walked away safe," Stewart said. "That's far more important that the stuff in my store."

Holley said Stewart lost her dog during the fire. She says by the time to they tried to run back in, it was too late.

"There's nothing else you can do but move on," Stewart says. "It is what it is."

The fire quickly spread throughout the building which contained eleven stores. Some sustained major damages, others with minor smoke or water damage. 

Firefighters worked vigorously to stop the fire from spreading. Some were forced to stay late in the night to watch for hot spots. 

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