UPDATE: Fire destroys Hayneville Subway, ALFA
Published 7:27 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
A massive fire destroyed an entire section of a multi-business complex in the Hayneville Strip Shopping Plaza late Tuesday night. Subway, ALFA and Lowndes County’s Family Guidance Center were among the businesses destroyed. Fire Chief Lamar Hall of the Burkville Volunteer Fire Department confirmed the Hayneville Volunteer Fire Department responded to the four-alarm fire sometime around 11:30 p.m., Tuesday and that Sgt. Ronald Hayes, a volunteer firefighter with the Hayneville VFD was the first to arrive on the scene. Hayes said he could see visible flames coming from a section of the roof area of the business duplex. Hall said Burkville Volunteer fire units and Lowndesboro Volunteer fire units provided personnel and apparatus, and the Mosses Volunteer Fire Department sent manpower to scene. He estimated that about 16 firefighters in all battled the blaze. While Hall said the cause of the fire was not known, “We’re pretty sure that it started in the Subway section,” he said. Hall said Hayneville firefighter Chris Baker and Hayneville Fire Chief Jessie McCall said they were first in fighting the fire inside the Subway, and then it broke through the ceiling and got up into the attic area. Hall said there was a common attic area throughout the whole building and the fire went both ways “and created a chimney effect.” Firefighters were grateful the fire occurred during the cooler portion of the night, but that it was “a very hot fire,” he said. Hayneville Mayor Kelvin J. Lawrence is the owner of the Subway franchise. He said the fire department “responded pretty quickly, but by that time it was already engulfed in flames and they fought vigorously.” Lawrence said the fire had already spread throughout the attic and “it was a total loss.” In addition to the Subway franchise, he said Alfa Insurance and the Family Guidance Center were all lost, as well. “It’s an unfortunate situation. I’m just glad it happened at a time there wasn’t anybody there to actually get hurt,” Lawrence said. “It’s a total loss for my business.” Lawrence said the aftermath of the fire is going to put a strain on the residents of Hayneville, as well, because the shopping center provided services and retail operations for Hayneville as well as the surrounding area. “So, that’s going to be a challenge to try to get over that hurdle,” Lawrence said. “But other than that I think everything is going to be OK.” Lawrence said looking for another location would speed up the process for him to get his franchise going again. He said the Subway provided a constant tax revenue base for the town, which will be lost for a couple of months. “I’m just saddened that we have families and individuals and employees that are going to be out of a job for a while. That’s the most disheartening part about the whole thing,” Lawrence said. “And it not only affects me as the owner of the business but it affects other businesses, as well as my employees and the citizens of Hayneville.” Alfa Insurance has dispatched a mobile response unit (MRU) to Hayneville following the fire, according to Alfa Communications Director Jeff Helms. He said the 38-foot-long MRU, located at 101 Hayneville Plaza, is a fully functional Alfa office where employees can process claims, access policyholder records and other insurance needs.
“Although our service center was destroyed, we are thankful no one was hurt,” Alfa President Jimmy Parnell said. “We are committed to our policyholders. The mobile response unit allows us to continue serving our customers in Lowndes County and the surrounding area. Alfa policyholders can have confidence their information and policies are safe.” Customers needing assistance should call 1-800-964-2532.