East Naples thrift store destroyed by fire

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Crews respond to a structure fire on Linwood Avenue in East Naples Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Credit: WINK News.

Fire destroyed a thrift store in East Naples on Tuesday evening.

The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District responded to the 2400 block of Linwood Avenue where the fire was reported at a strip mall.

“Everything, everything, I don’t know,” said Estilie Bissainthe, who owns the thrift store. “I don’t know.”

Bissainthe was devastated over the destruction of her business. She said the fire started in her thrift store while she was inside.

“Something make a big noise,” Bissainthe said. “I look, and I see fire.”

Firefighters from three different districts in Collier County rushed to the scene armed with ladders and hoses as they worked to stop the flames and other businesses from catching fire.

The fire district said it was a tricky fire to put out, taking crews about 30 minutes, but it could have been a lot worse. The structure is reportedly outdated and didn’t have sprinklers, which would have helped.

“There was a loft inside, so as soon as you go in the front door, you have a second story above it,” said Assistant Chief Forrest Campbell with Greater Naples Fire Rescue District. “We actually cut through the wall here.”

People who work in the building anxiously waited behind the yellow tape until firefighters were able to contain the flames.

Some businesses in the building have minor damage, but the thrift store is beyond repair.

“It’s gutted,” Campbell said. “It was burning from one end to another.”

Firefighters couldn’t save Bissainthe’s family store.

“Clothes, shoes, TV, everything,” Bissainthe said.

Bissainthe’s business is now rubble with burn scars on the roof of the business she owned for two years.

“I have lost everything, everything, because I have nothing at all,” Bissainthe said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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