A decades-old business in Gulfport went up in smoke Tuesday night. A fire destroyed Flash Printing, U.S.A., a locally owned print shop that had been nestled on Pass Road since 1972.
"Flames and smoke, pouring out of the building... 32 years...32 years...," said an emotional Matt Irby, owner of Flash Printing.
He spent 32 years of his life building the business. In a matter of seconds, his dreams went up in smoke.
"I got up here to this light at Teagarden and Pass Road, and we saw the fire coming out of the printing shop," said eyewitness Glenda Lindsey, "and I just pushed on my horn and run down to the fire station."
Firefighters ventured inside the building to contain the fire as friends and family consoled the business owner.
"We are also in a situation where we have chemicals inside," said Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan. "It is a printing press, so there's a large amount of paper products inside. It's a significant fire. It was one that someone could have been hurt seriously here."
Fortunately, no one was injured. But the six workers employeed by Flash Printing won't have a job to go to, and owner Matt Irby can only sift through the ashes, wondering how he'll recover the business he worked more than three decades of his life to build.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The blaze did cause traffic delays along pass road. Gulfport police were quickly on the scene directing traffic.