Fire Destroys Family Business - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cairo, IL

Fire Destroys Family Business

Fire Destroys Family Business
By: Arnold Wyrick

CAIRO, Ill. - The latest in a string of fires in Cairo, Illinois, destroyed Gerald and Lisa Watkins grocery store on 15th street early Monday morning.  Firefighters were called out to the business shortly after 3:30 a.m.

"We were hoping it wasn't bad as what it actually is.  As we turned the corner down here on the main street we could see the smoke and the flames as we knew it was bad," said Lisa Watkins.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the building, but the contents of the grocery store were destroyed.  The Cairo fire department wouldn't say whether the blaze was suspicious, only that they were investigating the exact cause.

Meanwhile Gerald Watkins doesn't think the fire was the work of an arsonist.

"From what I see in my opinion it's something in the wiring.  I don't think anybody did it on purpose.  We've never had any trouble down here.  These are good people around here," Watkins said.

The couple started the business more than four years ago in a Cairo neighborhood that one time used to be laden with crime.

"This is where I grew up and we just wanted to give something back to the community.  I've been retired since 1979.  So this isn't something I had to do.  This is just something we wanted to do.  We enjoyed doing it," Watkins said.

The blaze leaves the couple not knowing exactly what they're going to do next.  Although they do have insurance on the business, and building.

"It was a lot of work.  And we just don't know if we've got it in us to do it all over again.  So we're just going to have to wait and see.  He would like to do it again, so I don't know.  We just don't know yet.  But something like this really hits you in the heart," Lisa said as she wiped away a tear.

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