Safehouse Coffee & Tea destroyed by fire; owners vow to rebuild

A Monday evening fire destroyed the building housing Safehouse Coffee & Tea, a beloved downtown business.

Although the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Safehouse employees reportedly noted a smell described as burning rubber.

When the fire was first discovered, two employees, Jacob Orr and Stephen Dozier, as well as Christopher Blalock, a regular customer, attempted to extinguish the blaze with water and fire extinguishers. The three men, along with additional customers, eventually evacuated the building safely.

Upon the arrival of Griffin Fire-Rescue personnel, heavy smoke was pouring from the roof of the structure. The mutual aid call also activated units of the Spalding County Fire Department. The fire was extinguished within a few hours, but GF-R personnel will remain on scene throughout the night to guard against the relighting of hot spots.

Three other businesses within the vicinity also sustained damage in the incident.

Safehouse founder Hunt Slade later addressed the public, giving thanks for the outpouring of support.

“To all our friends and family that share in the loss of our beloved shop this evening to fire, thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. The worst site tonight was not the flames breaking through the roof of the building or the smashed in windows; it was the distraught look on the faces of those that have come to know each other within its walls,” he said.

He also spoke of the sense of community that developed within Safehouse.

“Safehouse is not a building and it is not a person. Safehouse is a community of people who believe in something better for their lives and their town, so hug each other and be thankful that we can all see each other tomorrow. The fire claimed wood and metal, but took no lives – not a single person was injured, and so we go on.”

Soon after the fire broke out, word began to spread among the Safehouse community, with those who may have begun as customers, but soon became friends, working to organize fund-raising efforts to rebuild what was lost, and Slade said that is exactly what will happen.

“We will rebuild. We will start over with all of the experience we have gained and all of the powerful heartfelt relationships we have grown, and we will be stronger for it. Make something that counts and share it with someone – we did and not even a raging fire could destroy that. I am grateful for you all.”

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