Girard residents only have one place to buy groceries - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Fire destroys Girard convenience store and 8-year-old's birthday presents

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GIRARD, GA (WFXG) -

Connie Wheeler walks around the Girard Mall, which is a gas station and grocery store, shaking her head as she sees piles of burnt merchandise.

She's the store owner's aunt and she usually visited the store to see her family and pick up groceries.

Now all she sees is melted water bottles, crumpled sheet metal and caution tape roping off the charred building.

"It's going to be real weird," Wheeler, said.

She says it will be weird to no longer stop by the store after she shopped and ate there for 18 years.

The store owners and the previous owner didn't want to go on camera but they gave WFXG pictures of the fire that ripped through the building early Tuesday morning.

They say all their 8-year-old daughter's birthday presents were destroyed by the fire.

Georgia Fire Marshals say no one was injured but the fire caused $350,000 dollars of damage.

"It's a sad day, it's just like taking someone's life because the Girard Mall has been here since we were kids and it's all I knew," said Vivian Brigham who shopped at the store for 45 years.

She says since it burned down there is only one other store where she can do her shopping.

"My heart really does sink because we only have two stores in our little, small town," said Brigham.

Wheeler expects that will be a problem because the other store is a few miles away.

"There are a lot of people who couldn't get out, except to walk and they could walk down here to the store. But now they're going to have to find a ride," Wheeler, said.

The owners tell WFXG they don't know if they'll rebuild yet.

The Fire Marshals are investigating the cause of the fire; they're asking anyone who has information to call their arson hotline at 1 800 282 5802.

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