LAKE CITY, Fla. – A flea market in front of Morrell's Home Furnishings in Lake City was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning.
The fire started in the attic about 8:30 a.m. and quickly spread throughout the building.
Three people were inside the flea market on Southwest Deputy J Davis Lane, just off U.S. Highway 90, when the fire broke out, but they were able to escape without injuries.
Roads surrounding the flea market were closed because of the fire.
It took Columbia County firefighters several hours to put the fire out because of strong winds.
Because the fire was so close to the furniture store, firefighters were concerned it would spread to the other building.
The Morrell family has owned both buildings for years and is well-known in the community. The Morrells' business has been a staple in the community for years, and the fire chief said it's really a shame to see one of their buildings burn down.
"Mr. Morrell is in his 80s now, and unfortunately, you know, we got to see some of the work, and I guess you could see the sadness in his eyes today when this building burnt," Columbia County Fire Chief David Boozer said. "He built this building from scratch. This was a dream that he had."
Morrell leased the flea market building out to three store owners.
John Norman sold vintage electronics and video games out of it. Norman said he lost dozens of valuables in the fire but plans to stay in business.
"If they were to rebuild, we might come back," Norman said. "We're not gone, at least I'm not gone. I was even thinking next time around we will call it Phoenix Games or something because we're going to rise from the ashes. We're not going out like that."
The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, but firefighters don't suspect foul play. They believe an electrical problem started the blaze.