CAPE CORAL, Fla. -The owner of a Cape Coral country store hopes to rebuild after a fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. We're told it sparked near a Christmas tree.
Outside, pieces of the building are still scattered about. You can see the yellow tape surrounds the front, and the building is boarded up. It's unsafe to go inside, where you could once find special antiques and country collections
"Everything is gone. We didn't think it looked so bad when we were standing outside. But there's really nothing much left," said owner Donna Freeman.
She is devastated. With Christmas around the corner, she was looking forward to a busy season. Instead, she is picking up the pieces of her dream business, which we're told, she recently remodeled. She calls her country store "Rustic Gatherings" and today it's a gathering of friends, co-workers and the customers she loves giving hugs of support.
"I just want to thank the people that came and the sent emails, and posted on their Facebook," she said. "Again, it makes me cry. I love that, and will never be able to repay that kindness."
"I just said hi, and dropped off some muffins and told her to hang in there," said a customer.
The sign outside says "Heart N Home" but Freeman acquired the country store this year and had not yet changed the name. Now a lot more changes are in store after Thursday morning's blaze consumed an estimated $200,000 of merchandise and building.
Flames could be seen from the roof. WINK-TV has learned it sparked accidentally, near a Christmas tree, and is electrical in nature "If you look on the big picture, we're ok. No one was hurt and no one is dead," said Freeman.
Some of the surrounding businesses have some smoke damage. At this time, its unclear when this country store will open again but they are hoping to rebuild as soon as possible.