Fayetteville, N.C. — As many as 45 antique vendors lost their wares Monday in an early morning fire at a Fayetteville strip mall.
A police officer noticed the fire at Festival Park Place, which is commonly known as Gas House Antiques, at 150 Rowan St., shortly after 12:30 a.m. and called emergency crews. When fire crews arrived at the building, they said the flames from the roof were as high as 40 feet.
"The building has collapsed on the inside, so the building is pretty well demolished at this point," Fayetteville Fire Department Battalion Commander Calvin Bishop said.
The first floor of the building was an antique mall where dozens vendors rented space. The second floor was mostly used for office space.
Tony Harrison, owner of Cape Fear Music Center on the first floor, said he believes he lost $160,000 worth of merchandise in the fire.
Many of the vendors were uninsured, authorities said.
"I was watching as my studio was on fire, and then the roof caved in on top of it, which could have been my guitars and drum set and the rest of my building," Harrison said.
Bishop said fire crews were able to save some of the musical instruments and antiques from the fire. Harrison said he had never seen a fire like that before.
"It is just hard to stomach right now," he said. "These things are exciting when you see them on TV. They are not nearly as exciting when they are happening to you."
Forty-three firefighters from six engine companies responded to the two-alarm fire. One firefighter sustained a minor injury, but he was not taken to the hospital. A nearby gas station was closed as a precaution.
Authorities shut down part of Rowan Street from Ray Avenue to Ramsey Street as firefighters battled the fire. The street reopened to traffic shortly after 7 a.m.
Crews spent much of the day hosing down hot spots, while investigators from the Fayetteville police and fire departments, the State Bureau of Investigation and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to determine the cause of the fire.