The Dollar General located at 5854 Shelbyville Highway will close indefinitely following a large fire late Thursday night.
Crews from Rutherford County Fire & Rescue, Christiana and Kittrell Volunteer Fire Departments, and Murfreesboro Fire Rescue responded to the blaze just before 10:00 p.m. Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office was also on scene.
The first arriving apparatus were met by heavy smoke and fire exiting the building. According to Fire Investigator Joshua Sanders, firefighters made entry through the front door and collaboratively made “an amazing effort to extinguish the fire quickly.”
Fortunately, there were no patrons at the business when the fire started, and the two employees inside who discovered the fire and called 9-1-1 were out safely when responders arrived.
Sanders estimates the damages to the building and its contents at around $500,000, noting that the business did not have a fire sprinkler system. “The outcome would have been much different with a fire protection system,” said Sanders.
Though Dollar General was not required to install a sprinkler system, Sanders emphasized that a protection system would have extinguished the fire more quickly preventing damage to the inventory, a large portion of the contents, and to the overall structure in addition to providing a safer environment for both employees and responding firefighters.
Sanders was joined by Investigator Matthew Lupo and officials from LaVergne Fire Marshal’s Office for the preliminary investigation. Surveillance video was obtained showing that the fire started in the middle of the store on a top shelf of merchandise.
“It appears to be caused by failure of a fluorescent light fixture,” said Sanders. He said it will be a long time before the business can reopen. “There’s necessary roof repair and damage to the entire interior of the structure as well,” he commented. “It will take them a while to get back up and running.”
For more information on the benefits of fire sprinkler systems, visit: https://nfsa.org/benefits-fire-sprinklers/.