MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — A fire destroyed a family’s business and took more than just their livelihood with it.
It happened around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night at Superior Service Company in Mattoon. Nobody was hurt and the cause is still unknown. However, the flames burned precious family memories that cannot be recovered.
“I really don’t have words to say how I felt. I didn’t know whether to choke up and cry or what to do,” said George Miller, the owner of SSC. He says he felt helpless as he watched fire burn through a business he’s owned for 25 years. “Everything we need to run and operate is gone.” Equipment, computers, file records are charred, destroyed by the flames that filed SSC.
Miller says what hurts the most is the loss of things even more meaningful to him that were stored inside the building. “My mother was a painter. I lost her back in 2008. Her paintings meant a lot to me. They’re the only things I had left of her. I’m sure those are gone as well.” When firefighters got to the scene, the flames were already bursting through the ceiling…too strong and widespread to put the fire out from the inside.
“We had to go on the defensive nature to attack the fire and basically had to wait for it to burn to the roof so we could get water down into it,” said Robert Alexander, Mattoon Fire Department. Officials say some equipment could be salvageable, but they believe the building is a total loss.