GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Firefighters spent the morning battling a large structure fire at a former antique shop in downtown Gulfport, at one point even closing a section of Highway 49.
“Upstairs used to be an apartment and downstairs used to be an antique store,” said Rachel Alston, former owner. They recently sold it about a year ago and it’s been vacant since then. It was an antique store since the 80′s.”
Fire teams worked for nearly an hour to get the blaze under control and power had to be cut from not just Alston’s, but the neighboring buildings as well. Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt said it could’ve been worse.
“Crews did arrive and some find some very significant fire going on their arrival,” said Beyerstedt. “We kind of had dual mode at that point of trying to keep that from going to the other buildings, as you can see they’re right next to each other and also searching for any potential victims that may have been inside.”
Thankfully, Beyerstedt said, after two passes through the charred building, there were no injuries or loss of life. This is music to the ears of building owner, Mississippi’s Public Safety Commissioner, Sean Tindell.
“You know, we’re not sure what happened,” said Tindell. “Gulfport Fire has done an excellent job putting this out and making sure it didn’t get to any of the other buildings. I know they’re investigating. It was a cold night. Somebody could’ve gotten and tried to stay warm.”
Despite the loss of the building, Tindell is staying positive.
“You know, it’s 2020. There’s still a couple of days left,” said Tindell. “Keep your heads up.”
After investigating the scene, Beyerstedt tells us that investigators were able to determine where the fire began. Fire officials think the blaze began upstairs, after someone broke in seeking shelter from the cold.
If you have any information on the fire, please call the Gulfport Fire Department or Gulfport Police Department.