Wesson shop not washed out in fire — Shop & Wash owners, Wesson FD credit each other

Published 10:07 pm Thursday, March 29, 2018

The owners of a convenient eatery and laundromat in Wesson credit the city’s fire department with saving their livelihood earlier this week, but the fire chief says it was the owners’ quick thinking and the smart design of the building.

Wesson Fire Chief Ken Carraway said the Shop & Wash at 1046 Main St. could have suffered much more damage had it not been for the way the store was built. The kitchen, known for its hot biscuits and fried chicken, is offset to the side with a steel door connecting to a cinderblock wall.

Owner Larry Ashley closed that door and may have saved his store and laundromat, Carraway said.

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“No doubt about that,” he said. “When the fire started, they didn’t get it all put out. They closed that heavy steel door though. They had it contained. It was still burning.”

The fire started shortly after 5 a.m. when the store opened. Ashley, along with co-owner Rhonda Ashley, do a brisk business with breakfast orders. At the same time, their cooks are also fixing lunch orders for customers who grab it in the morning with coffee on their way to work.

Ashley said he tried to put out the fire with extinguishers but they all ran out of spray before he finished. Crews from Wesson and Stronghope volunteer fire departments fought the blaze.

Larry Ashley blames the fire on hot grease and electrical wiring. No one was injured, Carraway said.

Neither the laundromat or the store received any damage. Ashley said his house beside the store was also saved.

He said the loss of the main kitchen is slowing them down a bit, but fortunately there is a smaller kitchen that is still usable.

“We are operating and functioning, just not at the capacity it was,” he said.

The fire will give the Ashleys the opportunity to rebuild the main kitchen to keep up with the expanding menu.

“Hopefully, the plan is to modify it for a more efficient kitchen for what we do,” he said.