Fire Damages Grocery Store

Fire Damages Grocery Store
By: Arnold Wyrick & Heartland News
CAIRO, Ill. - Another business burned in Cairo Monday morning.
According to investigators, the Gerald and Julians Grocery Store caught fire Monday a little before 4 a.m. 
Fire crews have the fire under control, but the neighborhood store is probably a total loss.

The store is in the 700 block of 15th street.  A fire department worker says no one that they know of was inside the store and no one was injured during the fire or fighting the fire.  Right now no word on a cause for this most recent fire.

In September, there were at least seven suspicious fires.  Five homes, one business, and a car all burned.  Cairo fire crews fought the eighth fire in less than a month.
The Cairo Fire Department will not say if they believe this latest fire is suspicious.
The owners of the business say they don't think there is any wrongdoing.
"I saw smoke so I ran around the building and the door was on fire. So I ran to a neighbor's crib and asked them if they could call the fire department," said Maurice Purdiman.
Gerald and Lisa Watkins spent a year working on the building, renovating it, stocking the shelves, and cooking the food for their customers.
"We were hoping it wasn't as bad as what it actually is cause we turned the corner down here on the main street. When we turned we could see the smoke and the flames and we knew it was bad," said Lisa Watkins.
Gerald says he doesn't think someone started the fire.
"From what I see in my opinion, it's some wiring maybe or something. I don't thing anybody purposely did it. We've never had any trouble here, never. Nobody throwing bottles, nobody hanging around. People are good out here. These are good people," Gerald Watkins said.
Their neighbors counted on them for more than milk, bread, and eggs.
"Very convenient, especially when you come home from work and school and you don't feel like cooking, you right across to the store right at my front door," Erica Walton said.
"This isn't something I just had to do. This is something we wanted to do for the community. We enjoyed doing," Gerald said.
They do have insurance for the business, but haven't decided it they will rebuild.
"It was a lot of work. We just don't know if we've got it in us again. I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see," Lisa said.
While the structure of the building is still sound, most everthing in the store was destroyed.