Fire causes heavy damage to businesses in downtown St. Matthews

Small strip mall near busy intersection sustains major damage

Workers at St. Matthews businesses describe chaos

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Fire Department knocked down a two-alarm fire on Breckenridge Lane on Monday.

The call came in around 4:55 p.m. Monday of a structure on fire in the 100 block of Breckenridge Lane, near the intersection of Shelbyville Road, right in the heart of downtown St. Matthews. When crews arrived five minutes later, they found heavy smoke and fire shooting the roof of the small strip mall in that block.

WAVE 3 News reporter Mike Fussell said he could see the thick plumes of smoke from as far away as New Albany, Ind.

DRONE VIDEO: Aerial images show huge fire in St. Matthews

The building houses several businesses, including the Simply Mac computer repair shop, Domino’s Pizza, and Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling.

LFD Chief Gregory Frederick said the initial call came in as an electrical fire from the back of one of the stores. Frederick said he believes the fire started at the Simply Mac store, but that has not been officially confirmed.

Simply Mac employees said the fire started after an electrical switch was flipped. The workers ran next door to Domino’s to use their fire extinguisher, Fussell reported.

WATCH: Viewer video shows big flames, smoke in St. Matthews

“(The fire) was just so strong that it was just burning my face and nose,” Chris Basham, a Simply Mac employee, said.

Firefighters immediately went to work on the fire, which had spread from the back electrical closet, into the shared attic. They began fighting the fire from above the roof, but once through, they found another roof under the top one. Firefighters were called off and sent to fight the fire from the ground.

Frederick said one firefighter was injured when he fell through the roof, or through another surface, but added that he was “for the most part OK.” Another firefighter was overheated and was treated by EMS.

Breckenridge Lane two-alarm fire

BREAKING RIGHT NOW: Louisville Fire Department is on the scene of a two-alarm fire on Breckenridge Lane. More info >> http://bit.ly/2IOX2eh Get the earliest breaking news alerts on your phone with the WAVE 3 News app >> http://bit.ly/2vCuYnr

Posted by WAVE 3 News on Monday, June 17, 2019

It took a couple hours before Frederick and his team had gotten control of the fire.

“You know, there’s been other ups and downs we’ve had over the years,” said Marty Scheller, who co-owns the bike shopped that is now destroyed. “Now, I guess I can say we’ve seen it all.”

During the fire, dozens of people created a human chain, saving as many bikes from the back of the bike shop as possible.

LFD is treating the fire as a two-alarm fire.
LFD is treating the fire as a two-alarm fire. (Source: WAVE 3 News Viewer)

And workers from the Kayrouz restaurant nearby helped distribute cups of water and wet towels to the firefighters.

“It’s been absolutely moving,” said Holly Conway, who works at Kayrouz and helped with the water and damp towels. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Traffic along Breckenridge re-opened by 11 p.m., fewer than six hours after the fire started.

Louisville Metro Arson is now investigating.

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