MARRERO, La. - A massive fire destroyed a Dollar General store in Marrero Sunday morning, but some quick action by a couple of customers helped save those inside.
Officials say the fire broke out just before 8:30 a.m. Sunday, less than 30 minutes after the store opened.
And the main concern for two good Samaritans was getting everybody out.
“The flames were at least 12 feet high before it touched the ceiling, and then it was seven feet wide,”said Frederick Clark. “All we saw was smoke. We made sure we got low so we could breathe.”
Frederick Clark was shopping when he saw the fire, and warned his friend, employee Dominick Taylor.
But instead of running from the store, Clark and Taylor began searching for others and warning them to get out.
“That's what you got to do, we don't know how long we have in this world so if we could save anybody we should do it. Put everything aside, all the hate and whatever, and just be heroes,” said Clark.
And they were heroes for those like Francis Hyacinthe, who might otherwise have been trapped in the store. Hyacinthe said he was in an area of the store that serves as a walk-in refrigerator , and didn’t notice the flames until Taylor came up to him.
“He said, ‘Fire!’ Shaking me up in the freezer, he said, ‘Fire! Fire!’ So when I turned back, I see the fire all the way up and smoke everywhere, everywhere,” said Hyacinthe.
Hyacinthe said he was thinking of his family, sleeping at home, as he ran from the store.
Witnesses said the flames began in an aisle inside the store, and spread so quickly, the entire building was engulfed in smoke in minutes.
“It was everywhere, everywhere in the store, I couldn't see the store at all,” said Hyacinthe, who believes another five minutes inside the building would have been deadly.
Clark believes it’s a case of arson because a plate of charcoal was spotted on the floor near where the fire began. But fire officials are still investigating the cause.
The blaze devastated the building, which officials worked to knock down later in the day. But everyone inside at time is safe.
“Everybody come out safe,” said Hyacinthe. “It's a blessing.”