NC family says memories lost in Sanford business fire ‘irreplaceable’

SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) – Fire crews are working to determine what sparked a devastating fire that destroyed multiple businesses over the weekend in Sanford.

The four-alarm fire started around noon on Sunday at Roberts’ Cabinets and Tops on Bragg Street and quickly spread. The fire spread to a storage building and a comic book store, the Sanford fire chief said.

RELATED: 3 buildings destroyed, 1 damaged by fire in Sanford

It took the fire department several hours to get the fire under control.

“We feel there’s a lot of contributing factors with the age of the building, the age of the wiring and the materials that were stored in there, the wood, saw dust, lacquer thinners, stains, that type stuff that would be very flammable,” said Chief Wayne Barber, Sanford Fire Department.

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On Monday, Robert Douglas spent the morning going through what’s left of his cabinetry store, which was destroyed in the fire.

“If I wasn’t retired I don’t know what I would do,” Douglas said.

Douglas said he hasn’t made a counter top or cabinet in years, but had all of the materials and equipment ready to go.

Douglas’ son owned the comic book store that was also destroyed in the fire.

“Robert has been there for 41 years and his whole life is pretty much in there, or was,” said friend Timothy Robbins. “Robbie and Kelly are two of the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life. They are not your average preacher and preacher’s wife.”

On Sunday evening, fire officials were still concerned about hot spots at the fire site. They were using heavy machinery to sift through the debris to make sure there were no smoldering embers that could catch back on fire.

“It was like the more water the fire department was spraying on the fire, it was just, the fire was getting bigger and it seemed like the water wouldn’t put the fire out,” said Marelda Creech.

Douglas said he estimates about a loss of $600,000. He said the financial loss hurts, but losing four decades of memories is harder.

“Irreplaceable. A lot of other stuff in there is irreplaceable,” Douglas said.

The Sanford Fire Department said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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