Saundra's Furniture Owner: 'It's Been An Anchor For Years' - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Saundra's Furniture Owner: 'It's Been An Anchor For Years'

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COLVILLE, Wash. – The Colville Police and Fire Departments were on scene Sunday working to determine the cause of a fire that completely destroyed a furniture store Saturday night. 

The Colville Police Chief said they were very cautious about who they sent inside Saundra's Furniture & Design because with the extensive fire damage, the walls were very unstable.

The damage is too extensive for repairs, so now store employees and the owner are trying to figure out where to go from here.

"I'm not sure," said Saundra Furniture and Design Store Owner, Saundra Wilma. "We are going to talk to an insurance company and see how we can support our employees while we re-build. That's the biggest thing is to figure out how to do that."

Saundra has owned the furniture store in downtown Colville for close to twenty years.

"I already cried on the way home," Saundra said. "It is just a lot of work that we've all put in, my employees are like family and they all asked me where do they report Monday, I don't know where they go."

She says everyone is devastated at the loss of the store that has been a fixture in town for the past fifty years.     

"It's another family member, the store is to everyone, as are all of my employees," Saundra said. "They're all family members, not that we're related, it just seems like it. We're one big family."

Saundra's daughter, Genevieve Wilma, took over as manager in January. She says she locked up the store around 6:00 p.m. and received the call about the fire just two hours later.  

"I saw the building orange all the way up as far as I could see and fire everywhere," Genevieve Wilma said. "People were on the street taking pictures just in amazement and coming up to me and giving me hugs."

The fire started shortly after 8:00 p.m. Saturday and quickly spread through the furniture store. The furniture inside is completely burned and even though the walls of the building are still standing, they will not be for much longer. Crews said the structure is so unstable they will have to knock it down and start completely from scratch.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, rumors are circulating around town.

"I did talk to a reserve officer who said that someone across the street saw a white car drive off squealing and fast and thought they threw something at it," Saundra said. "That's the word on the street."

The police chief could not confirm whether or not the fire was arson. The investigation into the cause is still ongoing.

Although it will take time to repair, Saundra hopes to rebuild the store just as it was.

"This is the right place and Colville needs this store to be open here they really do," Saundra said. "It's really an anchor and it's been an anchor for years."

Therefore, in the meantime, business must go on.

"We need to get a phone to forward our calls to, we need to get an office, and we need to deliver furniture next week that's still in our warehouse thank goodness, but anything that was sold that's on the floor is gone," Saundra said. 

Saundra also says she has received an incredible amount of support from the community and from people on Facebook. She is just thankful no one was hurt in the fire. 

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