Fire destroys Celina furniture store

By THOMAS P. WEAVER, HORIZON Editor

CELINA-Fire destroyed a well-known furniture business and the historic building housing the store here early Monday morning leaving store owner Randall Killman wondering what the future will hold for his retail establishment.

“After a slow winter season we were looking forward to spring and tax return season–our busy time,” he told the HORIZON Monday morning as he surveyed the damage the blaze caused to his family-owned business.  “Business was just about to break loose again… and now this happens.

“It’s tough to swallow.”

Killman purchased the established furniture business formerly known as Dutch Craft Mattress and Furniture Store early last year and said he “hadn’t really had time to even think about” the possibility of re-opening the retail store in the future.

“We would definitely like to open back up because it was a successful business, but it’s just a little hard to fathom right now,” he said only a few hours after flames took away his livelihood.  “I just haven’t had the time to think about it yet and it will take awhile to see if it will even be possible financially.”

Killman explained he was renting the recently remodeled building, but he did say he had some insurance on his inventory and contents.

“We had some coverage, but I’m afraid it won’t be enough,” he said.  “I guess something is better than nothing, though.”

The building Killman’s Mattress Furniture and More called home has been a staple here in the downtown area since the early 1900’s and has long been the location of the town’s furniture store.

Local historians list some of the various businesses formerly at the location as Lay Simpson Furniture Store, Short’s Furniture Store, Dollar General Store, Blue’s Woodworking, and Bill’s Dollar Store.

“As far as I could tell, the building was built in three sections at different times,” Killman said.  “The only date I knew of was in the concrete of the newest part and it had the year 1938 in it.”

Killman complimented the local fire departments for their work.

“Those guys did a great job saving the other building, because this could’ve been a lot worse,” he said.  “They should definitely be commended for what they did here.”

The store was adjacent an office building, which houses many other local businesses and offices, including H&R Block, Twin Lakes, the County Clerk, and several more.

Celina fire marshall Elwood Ervin said Celina, Pea Ridge, Moss, Mt. Vernon, and East 52 volunteer fire departments responded to the call at midnight and were all on the scene through 8:30 a.m. Monday morning.

“When we got there smoke was bellowing from the roof,” Ervin said.  “We began an interior attack, but made the call to pull the guys out just before the roof collapsed.

“It was the quickest I had ever seen one go from smoking to total collapse.”

According to Ervin, all of the fire-fighters escaped unharmed and reported no additional injuries as a result of the fire.

Ervin said “the cause was yet to be determined” as of HORIZON press-time and he explained the fire was officially “still under investigation.”