A fire that mysteriously started in a store’s cash register Thursday afternoon caused minor damage but left those inside the store uninjured.
Amanda Bartsch and her cat were inside Bartsch’s gift store, Magnolia, at 208 N. Main St., when the fire broke out shortly after 2 p.m. According to Bartsch’s husband Bryan Bartsch, Amanda was just about to close up shop for the holidays when smoke filled the store. She and the cat were able to make it out without injury.
According to Columbia Fire Chief Mike Roediger, the first firefighters on scene arrived to find heavy smoke inside the store and fire coming from the cash register area near the front door. Unable to initially enter the store via its main entry, firefighters burst through a side window. They then hauled a large desk that housed the register out of the store before quickly knocking down fire that had spread from the register to the ceiling.
Shattered glass and ceiling tiled littered a narrow lawn on the south side of the building. On the sidewalk in front of the store, the register still sat atop the desk, nothing more than a lump of melted black plastic.
Roediger said he didn’t know what caused the cash register to ignite.
A next-door nail salon that occupies the same building as Magnolia sustained minor smoke damage, Roediger said.