Fire destroyed the Amkon General Store and Critter Shop on Lyndon Johnson Drive Sunday afternoon, but a worse disaster was averted when propane tanks and fertilizer stored there didn’t explode.
The rear of the old warehouse-style building was fully engulfed when the first San Marcos Fire engine reached the scene about three minutes after an “all call” went out shortly after 2 p.m., Battalion Chief Bob Zook said.
The wooden structure burned easily, helped along by household and agricultural chemicals, he said. A stockpile of small propane tanks stored in the building did not get hot enough to combust, Zook said.
“We didn’t send crew in at all. We knew once we got there it was a pretty much a lost cause and it wasn’t safe enough to send people in,” Zook said. “It’s an old building and once it started, it went up pretty quickly.”
The fire marshal’s office was set to investigate the cause Monday morning and a night crew was dispatched to secure the scene overnight. Zook said the building, reportedly constructed sometime in the 1920s, is likely not salvageable. He estimated damage at $300,000 to $400,000.
After the fire was under control, firefighters saved five snakes and three toads in terrariums near the front of the store. A number of fish and reptiles were lost in the blaze. There did not appear to be other pets in the building, Zook said.
Fire engines from all four San Marcos stations as well as from South Hays and New Braunfels fire departments responded to the fire.
City workers used absorbent boons and a pump truck to prevent contaminated runoff from reaching a nearby tributary of the San Marcos River, Zook said.Email | Print