The fire started late Saturday night, quickly threatening the surrounding neighborhood. Dozens of firefighters battled the flames for over an hour before getting them under control. While nearby homes were saved, the warehouse was destroyed.
“My whole life was wrapped up in this building. So when I looked at it, I just said, ‘Wow,'” Melvin Traylor said.
For over 50 years, Traylor owned the print and equipment shop. In less than an hour, it was gone.
“It was my retirement. $250,000 went up in smoke. I still don’t think I’ve comprehended it all,” he added.
Walking through what’s left, he and his family remembered the night it all came down.
“They said they almost had it stopped but then the roof collapsed, and the oxygen came in,” Traylor told News 10. “It just re-flared itself up.”
“I know several people risked their lives to go in there and make sure the neighboring homes and the apartment complex on the other side and the other warehouse and all that wouldn’t be damaged by the fire,” Jake Perry, Traylor’s nephew, said. “I’m really thankful for them, you know.”
Perry owns One Young Man and a Tractor and stepped in to help out his family, donating his time and men.
“In times like this, it’s hard to move on. Just put one foot in front of the other, and every day just do a little bit and do a little bit,” Perry said. “Even in the worst of times, there’s always a silver lining. You might never see the silver lining until the end of it, but there always is.”
The basic costs to start over, though, cost a pretty penny. That’s why the family also set up a GoFundMe, hoping this will help to keep moving forward.
“I know money is tight right now and with everything going in the world, I think it’s best that everyone sticks together, especially small-town communities like Lafayette. If we all stick together, then we can all make a difference and keep moving forward,” Perry added.
To find the GoFundMe, click here.