Eastman firemen were called to Soo’s Fashions on Main Street in downtown Eastman on Wednesday, February 20 at 12:34 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building. A fire had started in the void between the ceiling and the roof of the building, making it extremely difficult to get to the origin of the blaze. The fire quickly spread in the building and Eastman Fire Chief Carl Johnson started calling for assistance from other fire departments in the Dodge and surrounding counties.
After engulfing the Soo’s Fashion building, the fire spread to the building next door that housed Roy’s and the Lunch Box Club. By this time, fire departments from Chauncey, Crossroads, Dodge CI, Alamo, Cochran/Bleckley County, Dublin/Laurens County, Helena, Hawkinsville/Pulaski and McRae had arrived to help assist in fighting the inferno. The fire also engulfed Roy’s, but firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it could spread to any more downtown buildings. Jonathan’s Salon, next door to Roy’s, sustained heavy smoke and water damage. The building across Third Avenue which houses attorney Joey Marchant, Destination Realty and some apartments had several windows broken and vinyl siding melted due to the heat. Firefighters were on the scene of the fire until 6:32 a.m. the next morning to make sure the fire did not reignite. The Red Cross, out of Dubin, came and offered supplies to the firefighters, as did several local businesses. Chief Johnson and James Atkins, from the Georgia State Fire Marshall’s Office, determined that the fire was an electrical fire. More pictures of the fire are located on Page 10A of this edition of the newspaper.