MATOAKA -- The feelings around Matoaka are all the same Sunday following this week’s fire that destroyed several downtown landmarks. Locals are reminiscing about the good times.
Ellen Elliott, of Lashmeet, says that she remembers her “first date was in the theater, my son came for his first hair cut here just so many memories here, the feed store everything that is gone now so it’s just a lot of memories lot of good times. Matoaka was the place to be when I was growing up.”
Beverly Underwood, of Princeton, says that his “wife she graduated school back in 75 and I got a friend who is a former sheriff in mercer county and he's from down here and I’ll bring him down here.”
For those who called the area home, Matoaka was the place to be.
Elliott says “we all still love it, we come back to look at different things here so it means a lot to all the people that were here.”
Nine fire departments battled the Barger Street blaze early Friday afternoon. Firefighters said there wasn't enough water available to quickly fight the fire; it soon spread to five buildings. Hours later came the arrest of 29-year-old Brandon Coomes, who police say accidentally started the fire. He's in jail on a million dollars bond.
With the alleged arsonist behind bars, locals hope that one day crews can restore what was once standing.
Locals hope that maybe they can rebuild and help bring it back up.