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Investigators Look for Cause of Flea Market Fire

Posted September 11, 2007

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— Investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire that destroyed the Dunn Flea Market early Tuesday morning.

Authorities said the blaze occurred shortly after 4 a.m. at a building at 800 N. Fayetteville Ave. A police officer, who reported the fire, said he could see the flames coming out of the roof.

George and Karen Wallace said friends broke the news that the place where they had sold homemade fudge and jewelry was reduced to rubble.

"I can believe something like this has happened, and we had no insurance to cover things we had inside our little shop. I don't know how we are going to get started again," Karen Wallace said.

The Wallaces are among the vendors that used to call the flea market a home away from home.

"That was like a second home to us. We all looked forward to coming down here on the weekends and we hated leaving. We had such fun," said vendor Rhonda Kloempken.

The owner of the flea market said he felt bad for the vendors because he considered them all as family. He also said many people came from out-of-state to shop at the flea market.

Fire officials said the building was made of heart pine, which may have led to the fire's spreading quickly. They also said the building did have a sprinkler system.

There is no word on the extent of the damage, but Dunn City Manager Ronnie Autry said the structure, which used to be a building and supply center, is a total loss and will have to be rebuilt.

There are no reports of any injuries. Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are looking into the fire. The cause was unknown Tuesday afternoon.

48 Comments

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  • shine Sep 12, 2007

    Wheelersx5 : That was a sad post :( I am sorry I never went to that place ... sounds like a great place to spend a Sat. or Sun.

  • Skepticghoul Sep 11, 2007

    Not having insurance is unfortunate; but I think it is a bit pricey and difficult for weekend vendors to shell out $$$ for such a policy. Remember, insurance on the building would not have necessarily covered the contents.

  • Wheelerx5__Ready for Football Sep 11, 2007

    I have bought fudge from George. It was good! He also gave my son a bunch of small plastic farm animals just because he felt like it. He still has them. This was not your normal flea market and I just want people to know that. These were local, mostly retired people, who did this on the weekends because they loved it. When I read about this this morning I called my husband to tell him. He just sat there for a little while and then said, "Thanks for the good news. That sucks." I keep picturing all of the old, old, antiques when you first walked in the door and turned right. I feel so bad for the one who owned them. They were deffinitely few and far between and out of my price league. I thought about giong there this weekend for more of the Thomas Trains for our eBay store but my husband went to an auction on Saturday, and, well, Sunday was the start of football season. It's hard to think that we'll never walk through those doors again.

  • pomodoroz Sep 11, 2007

    No insurace - that is very bad. Terrible way to lose one's business. Hope they find a way to recover their losses.

  • beachgirl2876 Sep 11, 2007

    I feel sorry for the people who worked there and lost there business.. And i wish they can find somewhere else to go.. I have lived in Dunn for 26 years.. Yes it is a bad part of town but now a days everywhere is bad.........

  • kentswifey Sep 11, 2007

    I know that the old walmart building was just sold about 2 days sgo. From what I have heard today that they might move into the old Lee Furniture Building but I am not sure of anything else. It is still smoking at 7 o clock at night and it is a bad scene. Thanks to everyone for all the nice comments it is greatly appriciated.

  • Grits58 Sep 11, 2007

    I have happy childhood memories for that open air market. I went by the other day and wished it was still there. I remember the smell of xmas trees and all those choices of xmas candies, fruit and nuts. I am sure there are folks that feel the same about the flea market... always sad to loose traditions. I would like to see them go in that old walmart building but I am sure it would be expensive for them - shame to see that building just go to nothing. Hugs to the sad in this tragedy. xxoo

  • Southern Country Sep 11, 2007

    PSPro - I think your thinking of the "Open Air Market" building. It was a building that use to be a grocery store for several, several years. I don't remember exactly how long it was in business. I remember it as grocery store the way they use to be. Fresh local produce and glass meat counters where you'd pick out your meat and they'd wrap it in paper. I wish there were more stores like that now. I can only think of a couple in the Dunn area now.

    As far as the derogatory remarks made about this building burning; all cities and towns have areas that may be less desirable to visit but no matter the social status of a neighborhood; there is ALWAYS loss in a tragedy. If you can't understand that then God help you cause I personally would not know how to start to explain it to someone so ignorant.

  • newtodurham Sep 11, 2007

    Anyone notice Wake County bias on WRAL?!?! I mean every other news story but Wake County stories you are able to comment upon. Durham gets the worst of it. Johnston, Chatham, and other surrounding communities are close seconds.

    Durham school fight was high up on front page yesterday and open to comments. Wake County school fight the next day is low down on page with no comment section, and the story is mostly about Durham story?!?!?

    Watch WRAL and notice the slant. The owner of CBC must have a lot of vested interests in Wake county. Read through the stories and see for yourself. The W.C. schools are actually reported good news as they are not as full as previously thought. I NEVER see good news about surrounding communities. Lynda Loveland and her Cary-gance when she comments on how Wake crime report isn't as bad as other communities. I mean really people!

  • Samjoy Sep 11, 2007

    sunflowerbubbles- I don't think you know what you are talkin about. That's not even a bad part of town it's just the older part of Dunn. Actually its pretty historic. And this is a great loss maybe not to you but for the people who basically make there whole income from this flea market, it IS

    I don't think the flea jokes and other smart comments are very funny! It would suck if karma came back to you. If a loss like this happened to you I think you would change your tune right quick and you wouldn't appreciate others ignorance.

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