AYDEN, N.C. (WNCT) – Fire crews responded to a historic downtown Ayden building early Sunday morning that had caught on fire.
Officials believe the cause of the fire was a gas heater near the front entrance. According to fire officials, a pastor using the building Sunday morning had turned the heater on around 6 a.m.
The building, which the owners estimated was built in 1914, had been home to numerous businesses over the year. Currently, it was being occupied by three different shops – an antique store, a chapel, and a musical instrument loft.
No one was inside the building when it caught fire.
The antique shop, called This and That, had opened in the building in 2011. The owner had retired after teaching in Pitt County Schools for more than 30 years.
Fire officials said the situation is bad for everyone.
“You hate to see something like this because those buildings have a lot of character, and they show a lot of your historical pasts and everything,” said Donald Skinner with Ayden Fire and Rescue. “We’re trying to revamp downtown Ayden now and when you have a building like this, it’s good for the historical district.”
Skinner said they are hopeful the building can be repaired and reopened in the future.