LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Gwinnett County firefighters evacuated several small businesses as they tackled a fire Monday.
It started in the basement of a building housing several businesses on East Crogan Street in Lawrenceville. Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh spoke to anxious shop owners who spent hours gathered in a parking lot across the street while firefighters were at work.
Meg Earhart, owner of Sparkles Designs, said she smelled a strange odor in the morning. Then, neighbors saw smoke.
“We got what we could out,” Earhart told Kavanaugh.
Earhart grabbed some of her art and jewelry but had to leave a lot behind.
Africart’s Sheila Nyandebvu said she was startled by the fire.
"All of a sudden, someone opens the door and lets me know there was a fire. I couldn’t even smell it," Nyandebvu said. "(I) just managed to grab my computer and my handbag, and I couldn’t think of anything else so (I) just left."
She watched and waited as the firefighters gathered in front of her store, hoping smoke and water didn't ruin anything. Most of the business owners said they were just happy to be safe.
"It's just stuff. Everybody's out. That's the important thing. There's no people trapped in there. The rest of it is stuff, it can be replaced," Earhart said.