Popular grocery store destroyed by fire and demolished

(WDTN Photo / Dana Smith)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Charred rubble is all that’s left of a local grocery store that neighbors say was a staple in the community. One neighbor called the loss “devastating”.

Fire crews on scene Friday morning worked to extinguish what was left of the smoldering ruins where “Food For Less” once stood.

Many neighbors gathered on the sidewalks, cell phones in hands, to watch as demolition crews moved in to tear down the building’s remains.

Elizabeth Anders said she called 911 Thursday night after she and her husband smelled smoke and came outside to see the grocery store on fire.

The family lives just three doors down from the store.

“It’s pretty sad. It’s really sad. It’s devastating to the whole community,” Anders said. “I went to that store just about every day for WIC and just about anything. I have five kids and getting milk and everything – and I mean it’s right there.”

When fire crews arrived on scene, the storefront window was blown out and debris was scattered across the street.

Captain Merritt Colton said the roof collapsed, trapping pockets of fire inside the rubble that crews continued to extinguish.

Vectren energy was on site to cut off gas lines in the area so demolition crews can begin their work.

“As you can obviously see, the building sustained terrible damage and right now we have an emergency demolition order to put the building down,” Colton said. “At this point, it’s not salvageable.”

As crews fought the blaze, Thursday, neighbors were concerned they might have to evacuate their homes. And when it was all over, residents say they were shocked by the destruction.

Another neighbor, Cheryl Walker said she frequently used the pharmacy at Food For Less.

“We get all our medicines there, too. Now we have to figure out a way to get our medicines to another pharmacy. They even delivered to us, we wouldn’t have to go outside the house,” Walker said.

The nearest grocery store and pharmacy is now a mile away.

“For a lot of people around here, they don’t have cars. And this was the only way for them to get groceries, quick,” Anders said.

Fire Investigation Unit is still working determine what exactly caused the blaze.

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