Family Dollar store destroyed by large fire

Updated:

Firefighters said the flames were intense when they arrived at the store.

RIVERDALE, Ga. - Fire crews remain at the scene of a large fire that destroyed a Family Dollar store in Clayton County Tuesday afternoon.

The smoke was thick as it poured out of the store along Highway 85 in Clayton County.

Firefighters doused the fire with plenty of water, but it was stubborn and was hard to put out.

As all of that unfolded, Family Dollar employee Keesha Blow was among the many who gathered to watch crews battle the blaze.

"I just heard her screaming and I peeped inside and it was really smoking outside, I mean inside the store," Blow said.

Blow said she was standing outside the store in the Point South Corners shopping center around 2 p.m. when she said her manager started evacuating customers and employees after a fire inside the store got out of control.

"Everybody got out safely," Blow told Channel 2's Tom Jones.

Firefighters said the flames were intense when they arrived at the store.

"Units tried to make entry into the structure but because of the intense heat and smoke they weren't able to," Capt. Walter Barber with the Clayton County Fire Department said.

Firefighters said that's because of merchandise burning inside.

Crews said a worker tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher but quickly realized it wasn't going to stop the flames.

Firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading to businesses nearby.

Meanwhile, Blow wonders what would have happened if workers couldn't get out.

"I do wonder if we was caught inside. But I'm glad that we weren't, thank God so," Blow said.

Firefighters evacuated all the businesses in this shopping center.

Investigators are still trying to determine what started the fire.

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