ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. --
A massive fire late Tuesday night shut down an Orange County grocery store and has a local pastor looking for a place to worship. The fire at the small strip mall off Forsyth Road near Colonial Drive damaged both a church and a Stop n' Shop food store. The store had to be condemned.
The church and the grocery store are boarded up, because Tuesday night they almost burnt down. Now, the owner and a congregation are picking up the pieces.
“The bottom line is you have to go through the process and hopefully well get back to our normal routine,” Pastor Joe Rivera said.
The blaze happened just before 11:30pm Tuesday. Firefighters are not sure what caused it, but they think it began in the back of the building.
“I showed up here and was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s my store, this is where I work,’” employee Janet McCormick said.
No one was hurt in the fire.
“Take things in stride and hope for the better. Nobody got hurt,” Rivera said.
For hours, firefighters shut down the street trying to keep the fire contained, but burglar bars and downed power lines cost them extra time getting inside the store. The back of the building is decimated and the ceiling of the church caved in.
The church is insured, but the pastor isn’t sure where he'll hold services until it gets fixed. The grocery store, however, has been condemned because the building is unsafe.
“I don’t have a job,” McCormick told WFTV reporter Daralene Jones.
“What are you going to do?” Jones asked.
“I don’t know, I don’t know, wait and see I guess,” she said.
Fire marshals said their investigation is ongoing.
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