(Hughes, AR) A Family Dollar Store goes up in flames intentionally set according to deputies to cover up a burglary.
Two people have been charged with the fire that not only destroyed the Family Dollar Store but heavily damaged businesses near by.
The fire was in a strip mall in Hughes Arkansas and it quickly spread to the town’s only grocery store.
Now more than two dozen jobs have gone up in smoke. “I usually have a time where I sit down and talk to the lord every morning. I didn’t get that chance this morning.”
Wallace Lock’s faith was put to the test Tuesday morning.
That’s when fire broke out in the small Hughes Arkansas shopping center that bares his name.
Lock’s Food Center, the only full service grocery store in town, was damaged and is now closed.
The Family Dollar Store and three other businesses in the strip mall are gone along with a few dozen jobs.
Wallace Lock says it’s a hard blow for the town, “Everybody in this shopping center now is out of work…at least until further notice. and in a tough economy it makes it even harder.”
Investigators say two burglars set a fire in the doorway of the Family Dollar Store to coverup their break-in.
Witnesses led deputies to 19-year-old Kendrick Robinson and a juvenile both from Hughes.
Tuesday Family Dollar employees who showed up for work were too upset to talk but not frequent shoppers like Bobby Dias, “They don’t realize how many families they’ve affected, you know. There’s more than just the people who work there. They help their mom and their kids and pay their bills. And they don’t realize how many people they’ve hurt.”
The fire will now force people in Hughes to drive to Forrest City and West Memphis for groceries.
Linda Davis says that will be a hardship for some, “And a lot of people around here don’t have vehicles, they can’t go anywhere else. So it’s just a shame that it had to happen.”
Wallace Lock says he’ll do what it takes to get up and running again.
But knows other businesses in the shopping center may not have that option, “Those who were producing and trying to make something for themselves are not able to do it anymore.”
Kendrick Robinson and the 17-year-old juvenile are charged with burglary, theft and arson.
They are scheduled to be in court Wednesday morning in Forrest City.