Flint grocery store fire leaves nearby residents with limited food options

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FLINT (WJRT) - (03/08/18) - A Flint grocery store is now closed after a major fire Wednesday night.

People who rely on the store for food and other items are feeling the loss less than 24 hours later.

Neighbors who live around the corner from Mr. B's Market saw smoke and flames shooting from the building. With the store now out of business, it doesn't leave many food options for some of them.

"I got no water. I got one case of water that's going to get me through next Tuesday when they deliver my water," said James Thompson.

Thompson walked from his home on Remington Avenue as he normally does to get what he needs. But instead of going to Mr. B's, he has to find another option.

"I don't have a vehicle. I don't have a vehicle. That car in my driveway don't run, so now I'm bumming," he said.

Flint fire crews rushed to the grocery store on Fenton Road around 8:30 p.m. Investigators say the fire started in the back storage area of the building after the store was closed for the night.

No one was inside and no injuries were reported.

"It was scary because it looked so close, at first I thought it was the person across the street's house," Amity Thompson said.

The fire seemed a little too close for comfort for her one street over from his house.

"It started and then there was like an explosion and the flames just shot out even higher," Thompson said.

He remembers when the other Mr. B's store on Dupont Street caught fire in 2005. So far, no announcements have been made about what's going to happen to the Fenton Road store.

"They completely rebuilt it, but this one was going down. They even said there's a good possibility this one was going to be shutting down," Thompson said.

Another man says Family Dollar, which is about a two-minute walk from Mr. B's, is the nearest store, but it's not a grocery store. The next closest grocery store is about a mile away, which is hardly walking distance when trying to carry groceries in the snow.

"It's really going to affect a lot of people in this neighborhood, 'cause all we have is Family Dollar to walk to so, honestly, if anybody doesn't have transportation it's really going to hurt the area bad," Travis Babendrager said.

Without a place to get more bottled water, Thompson is left with few options.

"I got no bottled water. I can't pour the water into the toilet. The only thing I can do at this point -- I'm not lying -- the only thing I can do at this point is take this snow, put it in a bucket and put it by my heater," he said.

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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