Albertville firefighters spent more than three hours on the scene of a fire at a shopping center on U.S. Highway 431 Monday night.
The shopping center housing Alfa Insurance, Sun Loan Company and TNT Grocery, caught fire around 7:20 p.m. More than 20 firemen responded to the scene with four trucks, including the ladder truck.
Sierra Martin said she was leaving Planet Fitness when she noticed smoke in the distance. She said as she got to her vehicle, friends were calling to tell her the business was ablaze. Martin’s mother, Ranue Moore, owns the grocery store. She was out of town when the fire occurred, Martin said.
“When I got here, there were four fire trucks and smoke straight up in the air,” Martin said. “I was like, where is all this smoke coming from? I really thought it was coming from the paint store nearby.
“But then there were guys busting in the doors here trying to get in.”
Gail Cowan lives nearby on Main Street. She said she initially didn’t think much about the sirens going past her home.
“They go by often enough that it didn’t even register with me at first,” Cowan said. “Then I got the call saying Sierra was down here by herself and I just had to come to be with her.”
Albertville Fire Chief Brad Hix said initial evidence pointed to the fire originating in the loan office, near the shared wall with the grocery store. The flames had traveled upwards and spread through the ceilings and roofline. However, no definitive cause was determined by Tuesday morning.
Hix speculated the insurance offices would sustain minimal damage, while the other businesses would suffer extensive smoke, water and fire damage.
Hix returned to the scene Tuesday morning with Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Jason Beam and a deputy state fire marshal to continue an investigation into the blaze.
The initial call to firemen came in at 7:21 p.m. Monday reporting smoke and flames showing from the building. An “all call” was issued soon after requesting all off-duty firemen report for duty. In all, 28 firemen responded with four trucks. Police blocked one lane of U.S. 431 southbound while firemen remained on scene.