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Bible, American flag survives fire that destroyed Bainbridge landmark

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 18:22:48-04

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. — The Bainbridge community has lost a landmark after Decatur Auto Parts burned down Sunday night.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it could be related to the weather or some of the materials inside the building.

The entire building is now a pile of charred rubble and you can still smell the fire too. While we were there, the former manager and his buddies were walking through the debris just seeing what was left.

Out of everything, only two things stayed completely untouched.

"When I pulled up the side of the street, you could see the flames coming up the top of the building," said Jason Davis, a former employee.

Davis says when he saw the building, his heart dropped.

"I knew it was gone then. It was bad," said Davis.

That's when he and dozens of others texted the manager, Jimbo Godwin.

"Man, I was totally devastated. I've been here thirty years since high school. Only job I ever had," said Godwin.

But Godwin was hours away, on the way to Disney with his family.

He immediately raced back. For the next five hours, others in the community had to watch the building fall apart piece-by-piece.

"There was nothing else we could do except watch. This is a landmark, they come by and see it," said Davis. "I hate to see it go because it's a fixture of the community."

Fire officials say the building is a total loss. That's about half a million dollars and only two things survived.

"We actually found this morning the only two things that didn't burn were a bible and a flag. Those are the only two things," said Davis.

And just like Sunday night, people in Bainbridge have been coming back to check on the shop all day to pass their condolences, and see if they could help.

"My customers are more than just customers, they're like family," said Godwin.

Godwin said he'll find a building to rent until he finds out whether or not he can rebuild at the original location, but he's definitely planning on rebuilding.

And he has no doubt in his mind people will return to support the business.