Winds complicate investigation of Ace Hardware fire
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Crews from across Hays County responded to a massive fire at the Ace Hardware in Wimberley this weekend, but the Wimberley landmark is a total loss.
Marty Flores can see what's left of Ace Hardware from the window of his place of business, Hill Country Cleaners.
"They had different things, it was about everything,” Flores said. “They had everything there."
Early damage estimates say about $3 million was lost in the blaze.
On Monday, federal investigators joined the Hays County Fire Marshall's Office and several other area agencies. Together, they’re working to determine what started the fire.
"There has not been a structure fire, to my knowledge, of this magnitude in the county in quite a while," Assistant Fire Marshall Clint Browning said.
The investigation had to be cut short Monday because if dangerous winds.
"The biggest hurdle that we're overcoming is the wind,” Browning said. “As we lift some of the roof off, obviously the wind is catching the sheet metal so we're dealing with that."
For people in Wimberley, the store was more than a place to pick up a hammer and nails.
"It was a throwback to a different time and era,” Hays County Commissioner Will Conley said. "It was as much of a hardware store as it was place where people would go and socialize."
The investigation into the cause of the fire will continue Tuesday.
More than 30 full and part-time employees worked at the store, making it one of the community's largest employers.