by Jake Stump

Firefighters aren't sure what sparked a structure fire that destroyed two businesses and shut down traffic for a few hours today in Spencer.

At noon today, crews with the Spencer-Roane and Clover volunteer fire departments were still on the scene of the blaze, which gutted Floor & More, a carpet and floor covering business, and an adjoining Laundromat.

Both businesses are housed in the same two-story building on East Main Street and owned by John and Debbie Varda.

Fire crews responded to a call at around 6 a.m. today and reported large billows of smoke coming out of the building, which is located in a business district in Spencer.

It took about 25 firefighters a few hours to contain the blaze, said Spencer-Roane Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Ray Dietz.

The fire likely started in either the Laundromat portion of the building or a storage room for the carpet store, Dietz said.

The building was a total loss, he said.

Firefighters were waiting for the state Fire Marshal's Office to arrive at the scene to investigate the cause, Dietz said.

No other downtown buildings were damaged, and no injuries were reported.

East Main Street and Pike Street were among some of the roads blocked off today. Traffic was later restored.

The blaze also caused a disruption in electrical power in the area.

An official reported upon arrival that flames were shooting out of the front of the business and the roof, which appeared to be on the verge of collapsing, according to the Hur Herald, an online Calhoun County-based publication. Firefighters were later ordered out of the building with the threat of the roof falling, the site reported.