Former Griffith’s building gutted by two-alarm fire

Published 8:53 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A fire engulfed the interior of the former Griffith’s Meat Packing plant at the corner of Pettus and Front streets Friday night. The Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department responded to a call at 9:18 p.m. A second call went out minutes later, with a total of 10 firefighters responding.

“Our fire units responded to a cold storage location,” said DFRD chief Ronnie Few. “When they arrived, the building was fully involved on the rear side.”

That fire came dangerously close to residents behind the building, but the department was able to contain the blaze, limiting damage to a few trees on the residential property.

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“One of the things we are most proud of is that we didn’t allow it to get to Ash Street,” Few said. “There is a residence that is backed up to the building where it was on fire. We were able to extinguish the fire and bring it under control within an hour.”

The building belongs to Morning Star Baptist Church. Few was told by members of the church that they would have the building torn down, as it was a total structural loss inside the building.

Few said the state fire marshal’s office and the Demopolis Police Department have been investigating the cause of the fire since Monday.

“We’ve gotten a report that there have been people going in the building without permission,” Few said. “They were using cutting torches to cut copper piping and other things that they could salvage and sell.”

“We were told by the deacon board at the church that they did not give anybody permission to go inside.”

The investigation is ongoing.