‘We’re gonna keep on going’: Business owners in Civic Circle strip mall react to weekend fire

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 5:28 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Business owners in the Civic Circle strip mall in Amarillo are cleaning up after a devastating weekend fire.

Amarillo Fire Department responded Saturday evening, finding heavy smoke coming from Circle N Appliance.

The department says it took nearly three hours to contain with over 60 firefighters.

Those next door at 575 pizzeria had to evacuate, as smoke came into its building.

“I think some of the earlier comments were they thought pizzas were burning or something like that and as some of the guests exited, they could see that there was some smoke coming from the nearby business,” said Brian Kelleher, owner, 575 Pizzeria.

Circle N Appliance is a family-owned business that’s been in the same building for over 60 years.

“It was heartbreaking, I’ve been here 23 years and here every day and half my life is gone,” said Greg Fletcher, manager, Circle N Appliance.

Fletcher adds it is a ‘total loss’, however there is still a silver lining through all of this.

“We’ve got a temporary location down the street that we’re trying to get up and running, we still got a ways to go, we got a few days before that will actually happen, but we’re not giving up, we’re gonna keep on going,” said Carlton Fletcher, owner, Circle N Appliance.

Neighboring businesses have also been affected by this weekend fire.

The impact goes beyond Circle N Appliance, causing neighboring businesses to shut down for a period of time, including 575 Pizzeria.

“A lot of our refrigeration equipment and our food supplies and stuff like that were compromised, we’ll have to do some repairs to some of our ceiling work that was torn down just to create ventilation for the smoke,” said Kelleher.

He says its Hillside location remains open and expects to open up the Civic Circle location in three to six weeks.

575 Pizzeria is also working on putting its food truck in the parking lot.

“Still produce some pizzas in this area and cater to the customers that have been so loyal to us for so long and that’s important to us is just making sure that our employees can still stay with us, we can still pay them, fortunately insurance will help us take care of some of that, but we’ll also try and run some sales out of the food truck just to keep them working and to keep the guests happy,” said Kelleher.

Clinica Hispana and Halo Beauty Salon are also having to shut down for sometime because of the smoke damage.

Circle N Appliance says the fire was started by an overhead air conditioning unit.

Businesses in the strip mall say Amarillo Fire Department’s response, putting the fire out was great, before anything worse could of happened.