Heather Brooks was working alone when fire broke out early Tuesday morning at Piney Chapel Foods on Elkton Road.

“I was so nervous I couldn’t even get the door open,” she said.

She said she tried to save about $2,200 in cash from the business but didn’t make it out the door with it. She managed to save only her purse, cellular phone and store phone.

Because the store was badly damaged in the 4:45 a.m. fire, believed to be caused by grease from a fryer, Brooks also lost a job.

“My job is gone,” she said as she stood near what was left of the store. “I’ve got to find a new job.”

The combination convenience and video store near Piney Chapel Elementary School is owned by Young Kim, who said the business is insured.

No one was injured in the fire.

Kim, who has owned the business for three years, also owns Uncle Bud’s Mini Mart on Alabama 127.

Jeff Payne, chief of Piney Chapel Volunteer Fire Department, said firefighters worked 45 minutes to an hour to get the blaze under control. Owens and Elkmont volunteer fire departments also responded.

Payne said a state fire marshal would investigate the cause of the fire.

Brooks said she turned on the fryer and let it heat when she arrived at work. She also cooked several items and noticed the machine was cooking the food too quickly.

The fire started around the part of the machine that is used to lift the food in and out of the grease, Brooks said.

She thinks that a wire might have shorted.

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