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Fire Destroys Historic Moore County Buildings

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ABERDEEN, N.C. — A piece of Moore County history was in ashes Saturday night.

Moneymakers Trading, an antique store, once sat in the middle of Aberdeen's historic district. All that's left now is a charred shell of what used to be.

In a little more than two hours, a fire destroyed Moneymakers Trading and La Poblanita, an adjoining Mexican grocery store. At least two other businesses that share the complex sustained smoke and water damage.

Investigators said a roofer was using a torch to heat tar on the roof of the building when wind kicked up, and the roof caught fire. He was unable to contain the flames.

The fire caused more than $500,000 in damages.

The fire swept through the 1920s-era buildings pushed along by 25-mph winds. Sixteen fire departments worked for more than two hours to contain the blaze.

Investigators said the fire started on the roof.

"There was heavy fire in the roof," said Capt. Phillip Richardson of the Aberdeen Fire Department. "In one area, you could see a lot of smoke. The flames were 100 feet high.

"One of the firefighters came out and told me that the roof is so engulfed we don't think we can save it."

It took several hundred officers to bring the fire under control.

Building owner Philip Moneymaker stood by helplessly as he watched the building go up in flames.

Although Moneymaker lost everything, he said it could have been worse.

"Buildings can be replaced, " he said. "I'm glad no one was hurt."

Saturday's fire was the biggest fire Aberdeen has seen in four years, according to authorities. The clean-up effort will take several days, and firefighters said they may never know the cause.

Several streets in downtown Aberdeen were closed for hours because of the fire.