FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Flames engulfed the Family Farm Store in downtown Fayetteville for hours Saturday night.
While the store closed at 5 p.m. and no employees were there at the time, animals that were for sale lived inside.
The current owner bought the store in December, but the feed store has been in Fayetteville, and locally owned, since the late 1960s.
The warehouse manager, Rusty Capps, said it’s a “sad day” for both the longtime local spot and the animals they lost.
“One of the few places left that you could come in a mom and pop operation and find just about any animal in any type of feed you need,” Capps said. “We’ve suffered some losses.”
Fayetteville Fire Department chief Mike Hill said the fire started just before 6 p.m.
“Fire station number one is directly across the street — happened to be outside and saw the smoke,” Hill said.
A long-time customer, Abigail Thompson, said when she heard about the fire, she rushed over to lend a hand.
“We’ve always loved it because I love the animals and stuff like that,” Thompson said. “If I can, I’m going to try and help the best I can.”
After more than 30 firefighters battled flames for hours, crews found some bunnies, birds and guinea pigs still alive.
“It’s bittersweet,” Capps said.
Capps said now starts the recovery of any animals still left inside and rebuilding a longtime local business.
“We’re going to try and rebuild. It’s going to take a lot to do it,” Capps said. “But if everything falls in place like it should, we’ll be back.”
Hill said the fire department will secure the building before conducting an investigation into what started the fire.