Suspicious Fire Destroys Central Lubbock Sewing Studio - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/12/08

Suspicious Fire Destroys Central Lubbock Sewing Studio

Local authorities and ATF are investigating a two-alarm fire they are calling suspicious.

A NewsChannel 11 crew was on the scene as the fire destroyed a Lubbock upholstery shop in the 2800 Block of 34th Street. Fire crews arrived around 10:15 p.m. Sunday night to find the shop in flames.

Chris Angerer, Deputy Fire Chief with the Lubbock Fire Department said, "The roof collapsed on 2847 the unit here in this strip mall and that would be Brenda King's Sewing Studio. That's the main portion of the building affected by fire at this time."

In all, 40 firefighters put out the blaze in just about an hour. The fire destroyed the entire shop and left smoke damaged behind in several neighbor businesses.

Investigators began searching for a cause early Monday morning. We are told it is still not known where the fire started or what may have caused it. But, no matter the cause, King and her family says nearly three decades of work was destroyed.

"30 years of livelihood up in flames," Brenda King, Owner of Brenda King's Sewing Studio said.

As fire fighters worked to put out this fire, King received a knock at her door.

"I got woke up in the middle of the night by a police man coming to my door to tell me it was on fire," King added.

King opened her shop five years ago. She made drapes and re-upholstered furniture for many in Lubbock. Police told King there was nothing she could do, so she waited until Monday to see the damage.

"I waited to come down here until about 7.30 a.m. this morning to check it out. It's a mess," King said.

Fire crews were also back out on the scene, digging through the rubble of the collapsed roof in an effort figure out what may have caused the fire.

"At this point in the investigation we certainly are suspicious about arson in this situation but at this point it could go either way," Lubbock Fire Department Deputy Fire Marshal Garett Nelson said.

Nelson says ATF was called in to assist in the investigation since thousands of dollars property was damaged.

"I had a lot of fabrics in there that were my customer's fabrics that they paid for and they're gone. So now we have to figure out what we're going to do about that," King added.

Another concern for King and her family is how they are going to pay bills, as King is a sole provider for the household.

"She's a good mother, a very good worker. Her husband is disabled, I'm disabled so she has to take care of all of us," Priscilla King, Brenda's daughter said.

Next door to King's shop, James Jester is running fans to help make the smoke damage bearable. He says the fire also cost him thousands of dollars.

"You can see soot is all over everything. It is in my computers. We had several thousands of dollars of t-shirts ready to go out. Those are ruined," Jester said.

"Whoever did this just think about your own families and how it would affect you and your family's lives because it ruined ours," Priscilla said.

"It's my livelihood," Brenda added.

A Fire Recovery fund is set up at American State Bank. NewsChannel 11 is told King did not have insurance. Donations can be made in King's name at any location.

Customers can contact King at (806) 438-5383.

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