Mt. Sterling market partially collapses in early morning fire

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Mt. Sterling, Ky. (WTVQ)-Neighbor Melissa Whitt says, “I seen it on fire and it really scared me. I mean it’s just devastating.

She woke up to the smell of smoke only to find her neighborhood store already up in flames.

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She says, “Just sad because I’ve known Ronnie all my life. I’ve known him growing up. I used to live not very far from his house.”

Now she lives just one house down from Ronnie and Dianna Brooks’s “Rayburn’s Market.” And many customers like her can barely stand to see what was once a fixture in this community fall to pieces.

15-year-old Emily Conkright says, “This place was like always everybody’s place to go. And it was a historical place.”

Neighbors say Rayburn’s Market has been around for about a hundred years.

Longtime customer Harold Markland says, “I am 82 years old. I’ve lived out here for about all my life. And I remember the store, we used to go to it all the time when we were kids.”

It’s still unknown what caused the fire, but that it quickly spread through the buildings wooden boards. It’s unclear just how many people lived in the apartments above the store, but the Montgomery County Fire Department say everyone made it out okay before they arrived.

Conkright says, “I hope the community comes together and helps the people.”

We haven’t been able to get in touch with the store owners, but neighbors hope that one day Rayburn’s Market will re-open.

Markland says, “I hope they rebuild because they got all these houses around here. It’s about the only place that they go to, so it’s easy to walk to.”

Whitt says, “It’s a really friendly place and it makes this place family.”

She says she’s planning to work with local churches in the area to collect clothes and basic necessities for those living in the apartments upstairs while they go through this difficult time. If you’d like to donate, call Melissa Whitt at (859) 585-5119.