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The glow of flames from a predawn blaze in Mount Eden on Thursday split the darkness as dozens of firefighters from five departments struggled to control a fire that consumed a downtown building, damaged two others, and threatened even more.
But after several hours, firefighters had the fire reduced to a long line of smoldering rubble that had once been prominent businesses in Mount Eden.
Magistrate Tony Carriss, who lives just north of Mount Eden, said he doesn’t know how old the buildings were but that the one that was destroyed has been abandoned for many years.
“I remember when I was just a little boy, there was a grocery store in one of them,” he said.
Mount Eden Fire Chief Doug Herndon said a call came into 911 at 5:10 a.m., reporting a structure fire at the corner of Mount Eden and Van Buren roads. The building was located in Spencer County, literally on the Shelby County line.
Herndon said he called in so many departments for mutual aid (Waddy, Shelbyville, Shelby County and Spencer County) because the fire was raging very close to numerous houses and businesses, making the potential for disaster a very real possibility.
“We fought this fire with everything we had, and I have to say, I am proud of everybody who worked to get this under control, because it could have spread so easily,” he said. “Everybody did a great job.”
Herndon said he does not know who owns the building that was destroyed, but he said he thinks it’s someone who lives in Jefferson County. According to the Spencer County PVA, the building’s address is 26 Van Buren Road and is owned by Richard Reid of Louisville.
The dilapidated building is not part of a score of rundown and deserted buildings that some residents of Mount Eden have been working to get cleaned up to keep them from being such an eyesore in the small city’s downtown area.
Two adjoining buildings received minor damage.
Herndon said he does not know what caused the blaze, but he said it is suspicious because the buildings were not occupied.
“I think one of them was being used for storage, but there was no electricity on in any of them,” he said.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is scheduled to begin with a few days.