DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) – The State Fire Marshal’s office is trying to find out what started a fire that burned through a Walton County business early Wednesday morning.
Miracle Dry Cleaners & Laundry sits in the heart of downtown DeFuniak Springs and suffered extensive damage from the fire.
The structure was built back in 1955 and is the only dry cleaners in the city of DeFuniak Springs.
DeFuniak Springs Fire Chief Ross Sheffield said when firefighters arrived on the scene, the structure was engulfed in heavy smoke and fire.
“This right here was a hard fire to go ahead and extinguish,” Sheffield said.
This prompted the department to call in additional help, with three other fire departments responding to the call.
DeFuniak Springs, Walton County, Liberty and Argyle Fire Departments spent about three hours trying to extinguish the structure fire.
“Basically what they found when they tried to get inside the structure was that the roof was compromised,” said Sheffield. “The roof had started sagging on them and they had to be very careful, so that extended the process of extinguishing the fire.”
Chief Sheffield said that while over 50% of the building is fire damaged, it is still repairable.
Smith’s Signs & Printing sits right next door to Miracle Dry Cleaners and could have been the next business claimed.
“When we came in this morning, I met the fireman that was out there protecting my buildings,” said Donald Smith of Smith’s Signs. “I said I’m thankful to him because they responded so fast and got the fire out and saved my building and my business.”
Smith said he feels lucky to have been spared.
“He said that if it had got hotter, then it would’ve spread to this building and we would’ve lost our building for a while,” Smith said.
The cause of the fire is still undetermined at this point.