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'This was the heart of it all' | Fire destroys popular neighborhood supply shop in north Houston

The fire started at Martin's Hardware & Lumber in north Houston around 5:30 a.m. and quickly escalated as lumber and propane tanks burned.

HOUSTON — Nearly 100 firefighters were needed to put out a large warehouse fire in north Houston early Tuesday.  

The Houston Fire Department responded to the fire at Martin's Lumber & Roofing Supply on Jensen Drive just north of 610 near the Eastex Freeway around 5:30 a.m. as black smoke began billowing from every window in the business.

The fire caused a smoky haze across parts of Houston and the smell spread all the way to the Katy area.

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A big chunk of the business was damaged before crews were able to get the flames under control. Crews continue to monitor for hot spots.

HFD said they're monitoring the air quality and that there's no cause for concern after neighbors worried about what exactly was burning. Crews said a large amount of stored lumber was burned as well as loud pops from propane tanks that had to be removed.

A co-owner said they've owned the business for more than eight years. Neighbors said Martin's Supply opened in the neighborhood more than 35 years ago and that it's a staple of the community.

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"We have a total of seven locations, but the thing is, this was the heart of it all," Christina Franco said. "This is what started us, so it's hard."

The assistant also said two businesses were run out of the warehouse, including a lumber and hardware business and a rental property office. Sadly, the assistant said they don't have insurance.

Surveillance footage is being reviewed to figure out if the fire was set intentionally after witnesses told the owner they saw someone throw something through a window.

"We did have two people come up to us and tell us that they saw a truck throw something through a window," Franco said.

The owners said they're trying to keep a positive attitude and will move forward.

Michelle Choi on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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