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The second major fire in downtown Monroeville in less than five weeks has left four people homeless and two businesses damaged.
The most severe damage in the Tuesday morning fire was suffered by Monroeville Liquors, which is considered a total loss. The next-door Pizza Gallery, at the corner of Main and E. South St., suffered some minor smoke damage but was expected to reopen, perhaps today.
Four apartments above the pizza place were evacuated and the tenants will not be returning.
According to Lois Ternet of The Monroeville News, smoke awakened Rick Cooper, one of the apartment tenants, around 6 a.m. Rick Copper called 911, then went downstairs where, he said, he found heavier smoke in the storeroom located behind Monroeville Liquors
Monroeville firefighters arrived and found heavy smoke coming from the store. They broke the front window and contained the fire, but the heavy smoke condemed the upstairs apartments owned by Art Baker.
Baker said the apartments were condemned because there is no fire escape, no second exit and no fire wall.
A Fort Wayne television station reported that fire officials said someone broke into the pizza shop late Monday night to early Tuesday morning.The report said officials do not think the break-in is linked to the fire.
No cause of the fire has been determined. Nor has a cause been determined for a July 6 fire which destroyed another downtown building — just a block east of the Tuesday fire — which was last occupied by a Dollar Dan business.
Decatur firefighters were one of several area departments to assist in battling Tuesday's blaze.