Building fire believed accidental

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 15, 2004

A fire that destroyed a large building on F.E. Sellers Highwayis believed to be accidental and electrical in nature, fireofficials said.

The fire, however, has permanently closed a Monticello businessthat has been in operation since 1985. Jody Reid, co-owner ofReid’s Tire & Auto, said the business will not reopen.

Monticello Fire Chief Wayne Harrison said this week that aninvestigation by the state fire marshal’s office and his departmentis ongoing, but that the cause of the fire is believed to beelectrical in nature and probably began in the center of thebuilding.

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Reid, who was leasing the back of the building with his brotherJohnny, said they lost more than $150,000 in merchandise that hadbeen saved from a previous fire in July at the old Jolly Fordbuilding at the intersection of Highway 84 and F.E. SellersHighway.

The saved merchandise being stored at the old Chevroletdealership was not insured, he said.

“The equipment I was able to salvage from the first fire waslost in this second fire,” Reid said. “I lost over $200,000 at theFord dealership fire. I was insured, but I was underinsured. Thenthis happened. This has nearly broke me.”

Reid estimated he’s lost more than $250,000 to $300,000 afterthe insurance pays off.

“I worked hard for everything I had. We had the best (equipmentavailable). We wanted to do the best we could when people broughttheir vehicles to us. This is just devastating,” he said.

After the first fire, Reid said he was still consideringreopening the automotive repair business, but the second fire,which destroyed all the equipment and tools salvaged from thefirst, has changed their minds.

“It’s hard to say I’m done with it because I’ve done it all mylife, but I’m out,” he said. “It would be too hard to recover fromthis.”

Instead, he said, the brothers will focus on their formersideline business interests. Jodi Reid owns a catfish business inTylertown while Johnny Reid owns a catfish business inPrentiss.