HEARTBROKEN: Gilbert business owner picks up the pieces following devastating fire

Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 12:26 AM EDT
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GILBERT, S.C. (WIS) - Tee Derrick has owned Derrick’s Service Center on Broad St. in Gilbert for 50 years.

“Been here all my life,” Derrick said.

On Tuesday, while a gas tanker was unloading fuel something sparked.

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As the building burned, Derrick could do nothing but watch as firefighters battled the flames.

When the fire was finally put out, the service center and a number of family vehicles were in ashes.

“It really hurt. I got over there on the ditch bank and just listened to my too antique cars blow up and I watched it as it burned down,” the business owner said.

Now, the beloved member of the Gilbert community is left to pick up the pieces of business he built from the ground up. He says the support from the community has been overwhelming.

“I’ve had so many phone calls with people offering to do things for me and letting me know that they’re there for me,” Derrick said. ”Gilbert’s real special, everybody here knows everybody and they care and they show that love through their actions and their words.”

As for what’s next, Derrick said he’s working with the insurance company to see what is covered.

“All the work that I’ve done all these years is gone but thank God I’m alive and I hope to build it back and get back going again,” he said.

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