Wimberley comes together after hardware store fire



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Posted on February 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 27 at 4:33 PM

WIMBERLEY, Texas -- Friday night, flames engulfed a building that has been part of Wimberley for decades. 

A fire ignited at 9:30 p.m. Thick smoke billowed into the sky as flames consumed the Ace Hardware store. 

"We could hear aerosol cans exploding as they popped off in there. There's pesticides and paint and fuel," said Wimberley Mayor Bob Flocke.

The building was engulfed when firefighters arrived. About 50 members of fire departments from across Hays County worked through the night to knock down the flames, but the damage was done.  

Fourteen hours later Saturday, you could see what's left.  Fire crews were still working. It's a sight that leaves the people here in shock. 

"My grandparents work here, so it was real sad for them," said Matthew Golden.

For people in Wimberley, this was more than just a hardware store. The building has been in the center of town for more than 50 years. Ace was more than just a business, it was a staple in this community.

"As you can understand, in a small town like this, our hardware store is really a social center of the community. And they serve all our needs. They're our friends, our family. Some parts of the building date back to the 1940's. It's been a roller skating rink. It's been a grocery store," said Flocke.

Ace Hardware is the city's third largest employer and the number one source of sales tax revenue. 

Without it, residents say they feel a little lost. But the people of Wimberley will do what they does best, pull together. 

Fire crews plan to work through the weekend, and hope to enter the building Sunday or Monday to begin the investigation into the cause. As they work, residents are showing their support dropping off water and food. 

The store owner says he will rebuild and restore what this tight-knit community has lost.