Fire destroys south Augusta furniture store

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A south Augusta furniture store was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning, June 21.

Furniture Doctor Restoration, located at 3345 Peach Orchard Road, has been in business for more than 20 years...but now, the family business is charred.

Investigators say the chemicals inside fueled the fire.

News 12 talked with the owner about what he plans to do differently once he rebuilds.

Walter Smith has spent nearly his whole life in furniture restoration. He owns two businesses, not even a block from each other.

Over 20 years ago he built Furniture Doctor Restoration from the ground up.

Wednesday, he saw how quickly fire tore it down.

"I saw it move 25, 30 feet in seconds."

Employees spent the day trying to salvage anything the fire didn't destroy.

"I feel like something killed a part of me," Smith says.

Firefighters were called to Furniture Doctor at about 1:45 Wednesday morning.

Walter Smith watched as his family business went up in flames.

"I had a falsehood that you could get it under control and handle it," he says. "You cannot. It will move faster than you can imagine."

Fire investigators don't know exactly how this fire started, but they say all of the chemicals and paint thinners inside definitely acted as accelerants.

"Once it starts hitting those chemicals, they just start blowing up," Smith says.

"He had lacquer, a lot of paint thinners, chemicals,: says fire investigator Lt. G. B. Hannan. "That's going to be a problem because it gives me an irregular pattern."

Once he rebuilds, Smith plans to add firewalls to prevent a tragedy like this again.

"Had I had a firewall going to the back of the building, it would have stopped it," he says.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Walter Smith's Furniture Doctor Supply Store, which is right down from the street, will still be open.

Fire investigators say they will begin looking into whether the fire was electrical.