Investigators Say Lightning Sparked the Fire That Destroyed Durham Family Dollar
Posted September 5, 1999
DURHAM — The Family Dollar on Holloway Street will probably not reopen after a fire earlier this week destroyed the building. Fire investigators say lightning struck wiring nearby, which started the blaze.
Firefighters arrived about 8:40 p.m. Monday, just 10 minutes after the last employee left, according to the store's manager.
The firefighters were hampered by bars intended to keep out thieves. The bars also prevented the firefighters from entering the building. Fortunately, there was no one inside.
Durham fire investigator Harold Boyd says if someone had been inside, rescuers probably would not have been able to save them. "We would have made every effort, of course," Boyd says. "But from what I can see there, probably not."
Manager Renee Midgett says anyone in the store after closing would be unable to get out, but that "no one should be in there."
Investigators had to wait for heavy machinery to arrive so they could push their way through the debris and determine the fire's cause.
There is no dollar estimate on the value of the building, but the fire destroyed about $150,000 in contents.
The fire marshal's office says owners are looking at other possible properties in the area.