Firefighters responded Tuesday evening to put out a blaze at the local Family Dollar store, but not before extensive damage to the inside. The store was open for business at the time, but no injuries were reported.
“It gutted the place. Everything is charred and melted from one end to the other, said Cortez Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Vandevoorde. “There's nothing salvageable.”
Vandevoorde said dispatch received the call at 7:39 p.m., and crews were on the scene within four minutes. About 30 personnel responded, including from Cortez, Lewis, Mancos, Dolores and Towaoc.
Six fire engines, two from Cortez and one each from the other districts, helped extinguish the flames. A ladder truck, two rescue squads and two ambulances from Southwest Memorial Hospital also filled the parking lot.
Family Dollar is part of the Cortez Plaza shopping center on East Main Street, behind First National Bank. The two adjacent stores, Bealls and an Osprey Packs warehouse, saw minor smoke damage. Bealls will be closed Wednesday.
The plastic and paper merchandise stocked by Family Dollar, as well as chemicals in household cleaning supplies, made for a “heavy fire load” that allowed flames to spread quickly, Vandevoorde said.
The cause is under investigation.