Paragould Fire Demolishes Shopping Center

March 3, 2006 -- 11:30 pm CST

PARAGOULD - It was a fire that had traffic backed up for miles on Highway 49 in Paragould. And when we arrived at the scene, there wasn't much left to see.Paragould Firefighters were called to the scene of the Valley South Shopping Center around 5 p.m. to what originally started as a structural fire.

The shopping center had one apartment in the basement of the building. The resident was sleeping at the time, and awoke to find his apartment filled with smoke. Once on the scene, firefighters immediately began their attack.

"It's kind of situation it's one way in and not a second way out with heavy fire and smoke in that area. We couldn't really get any ventilation to it and by the time it went up to the wall...it's got a common attic across the total top end of it here, and once it spread through that it's kind of back off and try to keep any one from getting hurt basically because at that point you can't do a whole lot," says
Kevin Lang, Captin of Paragould Fire Department.

Fire crews said they started to fight the flames from the inside, but were forced to attack from the exterior, due to the structure of the building and the extent of the fire. T

he damage can only be described as total, with fire burning all seven businesses to the ground.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the demolishing fire, but business owners said it is still devastating.

"Thank you for all the support for the last 17 years, and I will be back," says Cynthia Noblin, Special Moments Store Owner.

It took several crews to fight the blaze tonight. Paragould Fire Department, Greene County Rescue Squad, and Arkansas Methodist Paramedic Team.

The businesses that were destroyed in the fire are: School Tools and More, S and L Computers, Hair Force Studios, Special Moments, M-P-C Incorporated, Joey Perry Karate Studio, and Mini Storage.