Sam’s appliance repairs in Birmingham, Ala., announced Monday that it will close indefinitely, citing the heat and smoke from a fire that destroyed dozens of its equipment.
Sam’s owner, Tom D. Smith, said that he was “extremely saddened” to hear of the loss of his company’s operations in Birmingham.
He said he has been working closely with the city’s fire department since Saturday night, and has been coordinating with local officials to keep residents safe.
Smith said the fire “is a direct result of a lack of adequate fire safety training.”
The fire broke out shortly after 1 a.m.
Saturday at Sam’s convenience store in the city limits of Birmingham.
The blaze burned through more than 60,000 square feet of Sam’s inventory, which includes hundreds of appliances and other equipment.
Firefighters battling the blaze were able to contain the flames, but the flames quickly spread to Sam’s other inventory, and the city has been forced to shut down more than 2,000 stores, including its two distribution centers.
Smith said Sam’s was one of the few businesses in the Birmingham area to have its appliances repaired.
“This is the worst fire that we’ve ever seen, in our history, so far,” Smith said.
“There was no way that we could have done anything, and there is no way to restore our store, the majority of our inventory.”
Smith blamed the fire on a lack.
He added that Sam’s has had a few “fire issues” in the past, but that this was the first time in many years that the company had had a fire.
Smith said that Sam has a long history of repairs and maintenance in the area.
The company is “very proud of our customers and the great service that we provide,” he said.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Birmingham Fire Chief John C. Jones said that while Sam’s is not the only business to suffer, “it is the only one that will be closed.”
He said he would work with Sam’s owners to ensure that all affected customers get the help they need.
Smith and Sam’s will not reopen until Sam’s management makes repairs to the damage, Jones said.
He also said that the Birmingham fire department will provide additional assistance to the community.
“We want to make sure that everyone is taken care of,” Jones said at the press conference.
“We’re trying to make our community safer.”
For more news on Alabama fires, follow The AJC’s coverage on Facebook and Twitter.
Follow Mike DeSantis on Twitter: @mike_desantis