Autaugaville store fire most likely not from lightning, EMA says

Autaugaville store fire most likely not from lightning, EMA says
A look at the blaze from Saturday's fire at the T Mart in Autaugaville. (Source: WSFA 12 News viewer)
Photos show the damage at the T Mart in Autaugaville from a Saturday night fire. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Photos show the damage at the T Mart in Autaugaville from a Saturday night fire. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Autauga County's EMA director says lightning fires aren't uncommon but he doesn't believe that's what started Saturday's fire. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Autauga County's EMA director says lightning fires aren't uncommon but he doesn't believe that's what started Saturday's fire. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The T Mart is located next to a gas station, but firefighters put the blaze out before it could spread. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The T Mart is located next to a gas station, but firefighters put the blaze out before it could spread. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

AUTAUGAVILLE, AL (WSFA) - At around 7 p.m. Saturday, right before the storms rolled in, a building in Autaugaville burst into flames, leading many to believe that the fire was caused by a lightning strike. Now, officials are saying that's most likely not what caused the fire at the T Mart grocery store.

"We're not sure at this point. It's not uncommon in the county," said Autauga County EMA Director Ernie Baggett. "We usually have somewhere between four or five lightning strike fires in the county throughout the year and a few more inside the city, so it's not an uncommon thing, it does happen."

However, Baggett said during the time of Saturday's fire, the storms hadn't made their way into the county, putting water on some speculation Mother Nature may have been to blame.

"During that period of time we weren't getting a lot of cloud to ground lightning," Baggett said, adding that lightning is an easy conclusion to come to. While he doesn't know what caused the fire, Baggett does know that it could've been a lot worse.

"It could've been a lot worse had it not have been for the quick thinking of the fire departments and their actions and their abilities. It could've turned out a whole lot worse than it did. They saved the day," Baggett said.

On top of that, the grocery store is right next to a gas station and if the gas station would've caught on fire, well it would be a different story.

"There's a large propane tank right behind the building, so they were concerned with it. The initial trucks on scene and the initial fire departments were really more focused on keeping that tank cooled down to keep any issues from it," Baggett explained.

The cause of the fire is still unclear and the case remains under investigation.

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