MOULTON, Ala. – A building destroyed in a fire in Moulton this week was torn down on Thursday. Neighbors and friends returned to the courthouse square to support one another.
With a U-Haul backed up to the front door, Willow Tree owner Craig Johnston and helpers are moving everything out. Experts say the building is unsafe.
He’s one of four business owners who lost almost everything in Monday night’s fire.
“It’s still painful, it’s heartbreaking,” Randy Copeland from Pleasant Grove Baptist Church said.
On Thursday evening, Art Moss arrived to glance at the smoldering rubble that was his restaurant.
“You stand around for 36 hours watching it go and go and go. And then it keeps going,” Art’s wife Debbie said.
No one could save the restaurant or three other businesses in Moulton once a massive fire broke out Monday night.
“It’s hard to see a part of your community crumble like we’ve seen these buildings,” Copeland said.
“I called it my family. Everybody who worked there was my family,” Court Street Grill employee Sophie Schuman said.
Despite the sadness, there was overwhelming gratitude on the courthouse steps.
“We did not lose a town, we did not lose children, we did not lose lives. And for that, I’m so thankful,” Debbie said.
“We put a lot into this business. I loved everybody who came in and we got so many friends out of it,” Art said.
Moss, who’s still healing from a broken neck, told the crowd he’s kicking around the idea of building another restaurant. Possibly, salvaging some of the original brick.
“I hope it does happen. I’d like to be brought together with everybody I worked with,” Schuman said.
“There’s hope. We’re not defined by our past. We have a great future with god. As long as we latch onto him, he’ll never let us go,” Copeland said.
The owner of Deja Vu Salon says she plans to reopen in a new location in Moulton next week.
Johnston from The Willow Tree is taking the goods from his store to be assessed for damage.
It’s unclear if that building will have to be torn down.