BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — There is an overwhelming feeling of loss in Jackson after nearly an entire downtown block was destroyed in a fire on Friday.
"It's really sad it's really heartbreaking," said Crystal Jones as she took photos for her podcast and took in the scene.
Jones has lived in Jackson for years. She's visited the Jackson Community Church, Peddlers Mall, and Fresh Flower Shop, which all sat charred.
"They did a lot for the community. So, this is tragic to see them lose everything they've worked so hard for, especially a small business like this," said Jones.
Town Historian Stephen Bowling saw a glimmer of hope in a wooden cross that still stood tall right out front.
"That's kind of been the one thing that's always been there through this whole thing. It's been hit a couple times by debris, has been turned around, but it's never fallen, and that's really Jackson," said Bowling.
As a historian, his heart grieves not only for those who lost but for the buildings which were a part of the town since its early inception.
"These structures are important to us because it helps us remember what we were, and more importantly it helps us look over to what we can do," said Bowling.
Jackson Fire Chief Chase Deaton says firefighters started putting the fire out around 2:45 a.m. They planned to continue throughout the day Friday. Structural hazards made it difficult to get inside the buildings.
"This probably ranks the top five largest fires that have been involved in," said Deaton. "
They were able to get all the residents living in the apartments at the top of the buildings out. However, Deaton says their belongings are all gone, and their pets could not be saved.
Crews were able to save one of the attached buildings on the block, the historic John Hargis building.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.