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At least six businesses a total loss after shopping center fire in Eastland

Eastland businesses seek new locations after devastating fire

EASTLAND, Texas - Firefighters continue their investigation into the cause of a fire that torched several businesses in Eastland on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire burned stores at the Shady Oaks Shopping Center. Fire officials said they think the blaze was caused by a microwave that shorted out.

"There's nothing left. There's just the structure, the frame and the debris," said Lt. Sam Williams, public information officer for the Eastland Volunteer Fire Department.

The flames quickly spread through several businesses.

"There are no firebreaks between these businesses," Williams said. "This building was built before those codes."

At least six businesses are a total loss, but all the stores in the shopping center will have to relocate.

"Even though there wasn't direct fire damage inside some of the businesses, the structure itself is damaged severely and heavily," Williams said. 

David Beaudrie, who owns Natures Health Shop, said he rushed to his store when he heard about the fire.

"When we first got here we thought it was going to be alright for a little while. And then the smoke started pouring out," Beaudrie said.

The ceiling of Beudrie's shop came crashing down.

"We probably lost 70 to 80 percent of everything. There might be a few things we can salvage out of there," Beaudrie said.

"It felt very sickening whenever we first saw it. Just because knowing that you didn't have insurance on it," he added. 

Wednesday firefighters worked to prop up the ceiling and dig through the debris looking for clues to the fire.

"It's going to be a challenge to relocate these businesses as there's not a lot of space empty and available," Williams said. " In the best case scenario rebuilding the structure could take six months."

Beaudrie said he is already looking for an open space to move into.

"We will reopen. We definitely will," Beaudrie said.

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