Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Uninsured Bargains Galore furniture warehouse turns to ashes after massive fire in Martinsville, Virginia

Officials waiting for building that caught fire to cool down before investigating

by Elizabeth Tyree

Monday, April 24th 2017

Hots spots are still smoldering after a building caught fire in Martinsville this weekend (Photo: Tony Watts/WSET)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Hot spots are still smoldering after a fire at a Martinsville building over the weekend.

The fire broke out at the Bargains Galore building on Aaron Street Saturday.

Fire crews said they couldn't get to all the hot spots on Monday because part of the building collapsed.

Once firefighters are able to get things under control, OSHA inspectors, asbestos inspectors, and engineers can go to work.

"We have been monitoring it since the fire and the rain is hampering our efforts at this point," said Martinsville Fire & EMS Deputy Fire Marshal, Andy Powers. "Also, the threat of further collapse of the building, so what we are waiting on now is for the rain to die down and actually be able to get in there and get a hold of the situation."

Officials are expecting it to take several days for the structure to cool down so they can go in.
They don't know what caused the fire and they say the owners did not have insurance.


MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- A large fire ripped through and destroyed a furniture warehouse in Martinsville on Saturday.

Fire Chief Ted Anderson says the fire broke out just after 5 p.m. at American Furniture warehouse in the 200 block of Aaron St.

When Martinsville Fire & EMS first arrived, they found the warehouse heavily engulfed in flames.

Fire crews had the fire under control just before 8 p.m.

The building is believed to be owned by Fred Martin and Associates, according to fire officials; and the business, Bargains Galore, was owned by John Martin. Neither of which are believed to have had insurance, according to Anderson.

Fire officials say the building is a total loss.

No one was in the building at the time of the fire, according to fire officials; and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. You can read the full press release on the incident below:

On Saturday April 22, 2017, at approximately 5:08 pm, Martinsville Fire & EMS responded to an alarm for a structure fire at 200 Aaron Street. Arriving units found the commercial structure heavily involved in fire. Due to the amount of fire involvement, size of the structure, equipment and firefighters available, a defensive attack was established. A four alarm callback was initiated. Martinsville Fire & EMS received response back from one shift, two support personnel from Martinsville Fire & EMS volunteer staff, Henry County Department of Public Safety, Fieldale Volunteer Fire Department, Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department, Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department, Stones Ambulance Service, Martinsville Police, Water, Electric, and Public Works Departments along with the American Red Cross. The fire was logged under control by the incident commander Assistant Chief Dan Howell of B Shift at 7:54 pm. In this situation, the rain assisted with fire suppression efforts. Crews will remain on the scene throughout the night. The scene will continue to have hot spots and will smolder for days to weeks. Aaron Street will remain closed until the street is cleared of debris and the threat of further collapse is secured.

The structure is believed to be owned by Fred Martin and Associates. The business, Bargains Galore, was owned by John Martin. Neither of which are believed to have had insurance. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The funding for this large of an investigation is usually relied heavily upon the insurance company. This will add delays and complications to the investigation. Deputy Emergency Manager Bobby Scott contacted the National weather service to confirm no lightning strikes within the City of Martinsville prior to the fire. Anyone having any information that is valuable to the investigation please contact Deputy Fire Marshal Andy Powers at (276) 403-5205.

This story has been updated.