Man loses business in downtown North Vernon fire - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Man loses business in downtown North Vernon fire

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NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WDRB) - A historic block of North Vernon is still in shambles following a massive fire that broke out Friday morning. "I couldn't stand to see it," Larry Hatton said about the fire. His carpet store, home, and the apartments he rents are gone. 

Hatton says his brother called to tell him about what happened. 

"I said, 'Don't tell me my building's on fire.' And he said, 'Your building's on fire,' and that, that about got me," Hatton said. He's been there 30 years. 

More than 50 firefighters from several departments worked to put the fire out Friday. Four went to the hospital after part of the building collapsed. They've since been released. 

Neighboring residents and businesses have been displaced. Several buildings have smoke damage and broken windows. We're told the buildings affected are part of the town's history --  dating back to the 1800s.

"That's sad," said North Vernon resident Kathy Hopkins. "That's sad because our grandchildren are never gunna get to see it." 

But this isn't the first time crews have been called to an emergency on the block in recent weeks. A body was found among the trash behind the buildings in October and earlier this month, there was another fire. 

"The fire marshal said that the guy was smoking, left a cigarette on the couch, got up and left, it smothered and caught on fire," Hatton said. 

He tells WDRB that fire started inside a tenant's apartment on an upper level. Officials told us Friday's fire started in a basement apartment and they haven't released a cause.

Hatton says after all that's happened, it's time to move on. 

"At my age, and everything I've got going, I'm too old to try to go back, and start back over, so I'm just going to retire." 

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