Toulon Residents Look for Options after Grocery Store Fire

Published 06/07 2014 07:34PM

Updated 06/07 2014 07:51PM

TOULON - Residents in the town of Toulon are wondering what to do without the towns only grocery store.

A fire destroyed Super Valu in toulon Friday afternoon.

Now, residents are trying to figure out "whats next".

Ben Leezer was working next door at his family's business, Leezer Agency, when Toulon's Super Valu caught fire.

Leezer said, "Came in and told everyone to get out of the building. Obviously, we got out, we saw the smoke. The firemen got here pretty quick."

Leezer and the rest of the office could only stand and watch, as fire slowly consumed the store.

Leezer said, "At that point, I think everyone was just trying to make sure everyone got out of all the buildings downtown, make sure everyone was alright."

Jennifer Nutzhorn and her husband, a fire fighter with the Toulon Fire Protection District, were out of town when his fire pager went off.

Nutzhorn said, "We started getting word there was a fire. We quickly made our way back here and got him on the scene. (21:12:03) - They made it seem like they were completely in control of it, so it wasn't scary in that affect. "

What is scary, Nutzhorn admits, is that the town has no grocery store, but more important to her, a community gathering place.

"I think partly, because it is more than a grocery store," Nutzhorn said. "We really know and love the people who work there. We see them every day. We share stories of our friends."

Leezer and his family will have to work out of the building for a while.

Leezer said, "We've got our restoration company coming in. We got a lot of smoke damage. Obviously, the whole place is filled with smoke."

In the meantime, he and the rest of the town are wondering where they will buy their food.

Leezer said, "Pretty much Wyoming and Kewanee right now. Gonna have to, for now."

Nutzhorn added, "Yes, we can get our food somewhere else. We hope they'll rebuild. We look forward to that."

One place many Toulon residents are heading is the Super Valu in nearby Wyoming.

The store's operator also ran the Toulon location.

Workers in Wyoming say they have seen a large number of Toulon residents buying food today and expect that to continue for a while.

They say the plan is to make sure there's plenty of food to potentially supply two towns.

Mary Massie, an employee at Super Valu Wyoming, said, "Just make sure we're stocked up on everything we need for everyone, and work, work, work. We're hoping they'll all come over here."

Crews are still investigating the fire.

It rekindled earlier Saturday morning, and fire officials will continue to monitor the building throughout the weekend.

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