By John Balch
A week after fire destroyed the Cash Saver grocery store in Murfreesboro, there are still a lot of unknowns, according to company district manager Tim Allen.
The store was gutted by a late-night fire on Tuesday, Dec. 5, structurally damaging the 15,000-square foot building, which was built in the mid-1990s, and ruining the contents.
“Right now, we just don’t know what we’re going to do,” Allen said Monday. “But, we have no intentions of leaving the area.”
The fire displaced 16 employees, many of which were placed at the Cash Saver locations in Prescott and Nashville, said Allen.
The fire did major damage inside the store and compromised the structure but the building did not burn to the ground and rows of seemingly undamaged goods have some area shoppers hoping for a fire sale of the building’s contents. Allen said there will be no fire sale and explained that the state Health Department has condemned the contents due to obvious damage and the heat involved in the fire, which can affect the glue in can goods and alter the make-up of non-perishable items.
“It’s sad, but nothing can be salvaged,” Allen added.
The fire was reported around 11:20 p.m. and resulted in fire departments from Murfreesboro, Nashville, Bingen, Nathan, Kirby and Kirby responding to Murfreesboro Fire Chief Randy Lamb’s request for mutual aid. Allen said apparently someone in the neighborhood behind the store smelled smoke and alerted law officials who discovered the source of the smoke.
When Allen arrived on the scene, where he stayed until the following morning, it was just about midnight and smoke was coming from the store and soon got worse.
“This is bad,” Allen said Wednesday morning as she stood in front of the smoldering building. “And, it’s not going to get any better.”
Cash Saver’s owners have obviously met about the situation and Allen said the fire investigation is ongoing.
“There’s indications the fire started in the back of the building but right now there’s no clue of the origin,” Allen said.
A professional clean-up crew has been contracted and the lengthy process was expected to start this week.
“Don’t expect anything to happen real fast,” Allen said concerning the entirety of the situation. “It’s going to be a slow process.”
Allen noted that not only did the fire affect the townspeople, it affected him since he now proudly calls Murfreesboro his hometown after relocating here about 10 years ago.
“This is my hometown, too,” he said, “and I’m going to do everything I can to keep a grocery store in Murfreesboro.”
Murfreesboro Mayor Jim O’Neal he obviously hopes the Rehkoph family decides to build back. “They’re always been great community partners,” he said.