Landmark Fla. Feed Store Condemned After Fire

ORLANDO, Fla. --

An historic landmark that's been in Orlando since 1947 was wiped out Monday morning. A fire broke out at Palmer Feed Store on West Church Street, but the store's owner is vowing to rebuild.

“This is an icon for Orlando. This is Palmer Feed Store, been around forever, sells pretty much anything you need," said Tom Moise of the Orlando Fire Department.

The fire broke out at about 1:30am Monday and firefighters had zero visibility because of thick smoke. There were live animals inside the building along with pesticides and combustible materials, making it a challenge for firefighters

“They had a lot of aerosol cans and combustibles, so we did have some explosions upon arrival," Moise said.

At one point, the fire became so hot the roof started collapsing in the back of the store and firefighters said they had to retreat.

"We went defensive once the roof started sagging. We had a partial collapse and we started knocking fire down from the front door," Moise said.

The feed store has been in business since 1947. The current owners are the grandsons of the original owner.

"My grandfather bought it from another man in 1947. My grandmother built this building in 1953. And we've been in it ever since," owner Bill Palmer told WFTV.

Firefighters said the wood frame structure suffered heavy smoke damage and they aren't sure when or if the building will reopen.

“I think a lot of the contents can be salvaged, but the back of the building needs to be looked at,” Moise said.

Palmer was left devastated and code enforcement was forced to condemn the building.

"We think it's possible some old wiring in the older part of the inside of the store, and once that caught it just took off," he said.

Palmer said he'll try to cleanup and rebuild, but it could be many months before the historic landmark is up and running once again.

Firefighters are investigating what may have caused the blaze. The fire inspector said he's still investigating and will know for certain Tuesday.

Most of the animals in the store perished in the fire, except for some that were kept outside.

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