A sudden and devastating fire on Friday evening completely destroyed the two-story building that only recently became the new home of Handy Ace Hardware, a long-time Tucker mainstay.
No injuries have been reported, and the store had closed for the day an hour before the fire started.
Fire crews were called shortly after 7 p.m. to 4365 Cowan Road and were still battling the fierce blaze two hours later. Onlookers watched as the large structure slowly collapsed amid raging flames, billowing smoke and multiple explosions caused by ammunition and combustible gases.
Jon Howell, a neighbor who lives in a nearby apartment complex, told Patch that propane tanks in front of the building had exploded. "The first thing I heard were three loud bangs. There were flames going up 50 feet in the air when I got here."
Leland Boyer, who was also watching, told Patch: "I saw the front of the store blow off. It was amazing! I hope nobody was in there. A bystander said he was the first one to call the cops because he saw a glow inside before he noticed it was a fire. He thinks a hot grill was brought back into the building but who knows for sure yet."
A couple who had been having dinner at Zaxby's up the street came to see what was going on. "I saw the roof collapse," said a somewhat shocked Mike Burkett.
The hardware store, originally located across the street in the shopping center that houses Sangria's and Inclusif Fitness, had in recent years moved into the new spot, itself a former bowling alley.
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