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'No one was hurt, we're blessed': Owner to rebuild after 50-year-old Milledgeville business burns

They believe a battery pack made with lithium ion sparked the fire.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Tuesday afternoon, there are only ashes where the C&R Cabinet Shop stood in Milledgeville.

Baldwin County Fire Captain Bradley Towe says that fire tore through the 60,000-square foot building on Monday. 

We spoke with the business owner and others about what the company's loss means for the community. 

"20 minutes, it didn't take long. I mean, it was pretty much a hot spot,” Mark Salter says. 

Salter bought C&R Cabinets 23 years ago from the previous owner. The business is almost a half-century old. He got a call from the gun shop next door that his store was on fire. 

"Pretty devastating. I had pulled over next door at the gun shop because everything was pretty much blocked off over here. You know, it was getting ready to flame up,” he explains. 

Captain Towe says that by the time they arrived, 80% of the building was already in flames. However, Salter is trying to stay positive.

"You know, I do have a little sentimental stuff that's inside, but it's OK -- we'll get through all that stuff. No one was hurt, we're blessed for that, and I'm just anxious to just get back and going,” Salter says. 

Gene Williams is Salter's neighbor and a customer of C&R Cabinets.

"Yeah, I came to see Mark, see if there's anything I can do to help,” he says. 

Williams says he was shocked to hear the news. 

"I mean, I really feel bad about it. I mean, it was a pretty major part of the community. A lot of people use the services and I hope he get it back up and running pretty quick.”

Ken Machan has owned the gun shop the Bass and Antler for 33 years.

"Salter was a great business neighbor. He was a good man, he still is a great man, and I really hate it for him,” he says. 

Machan says they saw the business on fire first. 

"He's a great human being. He'll rebuild and he'll come back strong. I've been where he is without a total loss and it's just a nightmare for a business person,” he says.

Salter is looking to the future. He wants to get his grandkids working in the shop with him once they rebuild.

Captain Towe says it looks like the fire started in the front of the 60,000-square foot building. They believe a battery pack made with lithium ion sparked the fire. 

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