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Fire destroys 2 long-time businesses

By Melissa McCaghren

Slatonite GM

Two local businesses were destroyed Saturday morning (June 15) when an early morning fire broke out at Klemke’s Sausage Haus, 255 W. Garza St.

The Lubbock County Office of Emergency Management said in a statement that a call came in to the Slaton Police Department Dispatch Center at 2:46 a.m. The caller, an employee of Klemke’s Sausage Haus, reported smoke in the building.

The Slaton Fire Department was dispatched, and found the building full of smoke. Firefighters initially entered and attempted to extinguish the fire inside, but conditions worsened, forcing a retreat.

The fire then spread to the Slaton Family Clinic, located next door.

Both buildings are total losses, and firefighters worked to prevent the spread of the fire to other businesses.

The fire was contained to the original buildings around 9:30 a.m., but firefighters were still on scene to prevent rekindling.

Sgt. Steve Dekraker with the Slaton Police Department said people have been coming too close to the structure, which as of Tuesday (June 18) is still smoldering.

He said they have now posted criminal trespass signs and  barricades at the scene.

If people are found in the restricted area, they can be prosecuted.

“Only authorized personnel may enter,” he said.

Approximately 100 firefighters from 22 different stations were on scene. Several local businesses also assisted with delivering water to the scene due to low water pressure as they fought the fire.

Several local restaurants provided food to feed the firefighters as they extinguished the fire.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined as of press time. The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office has been requested to help with the investigation.

Approximately 90 customers were affected by power outages caused by the fire.

The Slaton Bakery building, located near the fire, was sound; however, Chad Wilson, owner of Slaton Bakery, said the store would be closed for at least a week to assess damages and clean from the smoke.

“Right now we’re just going through all of our ingredients, packaging, things like that throwing away and documenting anything that was opened or anything that was made at the time of the fire,” he said.

The store being closed temporarily is to ensure the best for everyone. “Basically our main focus is the safety of our customers and the safety of employees,” Wilson said, adding they brought in a professional cleaning company to help. “They will clean everything from top to bottom to get any kind of smoke damage off, which is what we’re concerned with.”

Dr. Al Bendeck with Slaton Family Medical Center said patients inquiring about appointments or information may call the clinic number at 828-1600. The number will transfer to his cell phone.

The clinic is currently located in the Slaton Economic Development Corporation building, located at 4119, 101 N. 9th St. Patients will need to enter through the left hand side of the building.

Bendeck thanked Barbara Hopper of the SEDCO board for the use of the building.

Bendeck added that they have the ability to do injections, draw labs and help diagnose and refill prescriptions. He thanked Covenant Hospital for donating medical equipment, exam tables and items for the new clinic, adding they were going to their warehouse June 19 to look at items. “A lot of physicians have allied and given us support and asked if we need anything,” he said, adding others have offered to help in other areas of need.

He can also send information to specialists, who are allowing it to be done over the phone. “They’re being very accommodating and allowing us to still schedule just through the phone,” he said.

Bendeck said they are already working on the new location, which will be between The Slatonite and Slaton Pharmacy. “We just got all the material to start building out, and we figured out how we want to do it, how many rooms to build and all that where everyone’s going to go in the new building,” he said.

Both men also support Rod Klemke, and want the community to support him and his family. Klemke could not be reached for comment, but Klemke’s BBQ on 9th St. reopened Tuesday.

“We have been neighbors for 18 years and he’s going through some hard times,” said Bendeck, adding Klemke was there Tuesday for moral support.

Chad Wilson created the GoFundMe page for Klemke’s. Another one was created by Renee Bendeck Morales for the Clinic.

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