Fire destroyed the Dollar General store near the intersection of SH 321 and SH 105 in Tarkington Sunday night around 10 p.m. Though flames could not be seen from the outside, firefighters inside battled flames that sent smoke billowing from the entrance.
Tarkington Fire Chief Paul Gregory said the fire presented a challenge for firefighters as it spread into the ceiling. Firefighters used saws to cut through the sheet metal roof and exterior wall to have better access.
“It seems that we have a bunch of fire in the void space between the ceiling tile and the roof,” said Gregory, operating the command station for the 10 fire departments assisting Tarkington VFD. “[The] water supply is over 1,000 feet away so we are having to use tanker trucks to provide water.”
The store reportedly was open when the fire started. The cause of the blaze is unknown at this time, according to Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller.
The Dollar General store in Tarkington is one of the newer stores built by the corporation in Liberty County in recent years. While the fire burned, employees who fled the store sat outside and watched as firefighters tried to save as much of the store as possible.
Gregory said firefighters would be battling the fire through the early morning hours.
Tarkington VFD is being assisted by Livingston, Cypress Lakes, HWY 321, Kenefick, East Montgomery County, South Polk County, Liberty County Hazmat, North Montgomery County, Caney Creek and North Liberty County fire departments. At last count, 100 firefighters were fighting the blaze. Liberty County EMS also responded to the scene.