Glencoe city council member loses business to fire

A early morning fire Tuesday destroyed a business owned by a former Glencoe police chief.

Johnny Chambers is currently on the city council.{} His ornamental concrete shop, Main Street Bargin Central 'n' Concrete Creations, caught fire just after 4 a.m.

A police officer out on patrol saw flames and called firefighters.{} They needed support from Hokes Bluff and Gadsden to bring a ladder truck.

The back of the building became engulfed in flames and the roof collapsed.

"We could not make entry through the interior due to all the shelving and things that were inside.{} We actually backed out and reentered the structure from the rear and were able to extinguish the fire," Glencoe fire chief Josh Fordham said.

Chambers and his wife Melissa opened the store five years ago.{} When Chambers retired from the police department in 2011 after more than 25 years of service, the store became his full-time job.

A shadowbox of his police patches and badges was inside the store.{} The glass broke and part of the box burned, but Melissa said she hopes to restore the keepsakes.

"Anytime you have a business in your city catch on fire to this extent, it's somewhat unusual.{} It's not something that happens every day," Fordham said.

An investigator from the Etowah County Arson Task Force reviewed the scene around noon Tuesday, but Fordham said firefighters did not find anything immediately suspicious.

The cause is still under investigation, but Glencoe police chief Jonathon Horton does not think someone would target Chambers.

"I wouldn't know of anybody that would have any ill will or any type of vendetta against Chief Chambers, no," Horton said.

"He's meant a lot to this community.{} He's really been a pillar here."

Following his retirement from the police department, Chambers ran for a seat on the city council.{} He received 56% of the vote and defeated the incumbent.

"He's well respected here.{} He's always had a good record.{} A lot of people would tell you Chief Chambers could defuse a situation," chief Horton said.

"He's always been able to keep calm and keep everything under control."

Horton said it is too early for specific details, but the police department plans to help their former chief.

"Certainly it's something that we plan to look into and assist him in any way we can to recover from this," he said.

Melissa Chambers said they did not have renter's insurance for the brick and metal building that primarily housed concrete.