A fire suppression system at Hobby Lobby is being lauded for dousing a fire quickly on Thursday night. The fire was reported not long after 7 p.m. and when Chillicothe firefighters arrived, everyone had gotten out safely and the fire was mostly out, said Capt. Noel Akers. “The sprinkler system did its job and knocked down the majority of it,” he said.
The fire was in the clothing section of the store in the back left where damage mostly was limited to some clothing and housing items, Akers said. A witness said flames were 7- to 8-feet tall, and estimated there were a dozen or two customers in the store when the fire broke out. Fire investigators are reviewing the scene and cameras from the store. While an official cause isn’t expected to be released until Friday, Akers referred to the fire as suspicious.
“There’s some suspicious things, so we’ll let the investigators make a determination on that,” he said. Asst. Chief Steve Gallagher said while fire inspections may sometimes be a bother for businesses, the fire at Hobby Lobby is a prime example of the value of ensuring the fire suppression system is in good shape. “There’s some water damage but it’s not nearly what could’ve happened if (the fire) had a head start on us … It’s the different between a store closing and re-opening,” Gallagher said.