A fire early Thursday destroyed one Sanford business and heavily damaged another in a shared building, according to the Sanford Fire Department.
The fire, reported at 12:08 a.m., gutted United Refrigeration Inc. and damaged the Kendale Bowling Lanes on Rand Lane at 139 and 141, respectively.
A Sanford police officer is reported to have spotted the fire after responding to a burglar alarm at the refrigeration company, according to reports.
By the time the Sanford Fire Department arrived, the fire was moving quickly through United Refrigeration, a commercial refrigerant supply business, in part because of some of the fluids housed inside.
“It grew rapidly,” Deputy Chief Ken Cotten said of the blaze.
The fire was burning at the rear of the building when firefighters arrived, he said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation late Thursday.
The aluminum portion of the building that houses the refrigerant business was scorched and charred.
The aluminum on the side of the building was bowed out slightly and slightly blue as a result of the flames.
Inside, insulation could be seen hanging down and everything inside appeared to be black.
A charred gasket was among the debris that was being scooped up with a shovel.
Kendale Lanes suffered fire, smoke and water damage, but appeared to have escaped the worst of the flames.
Firefighters cleared the scene at 4:30 a.m., Cotten said. The responders included 27 members of the Sanford Fire Department and five from the Northview Volunteer Fire Department.
The building is owned by William E. and Sadie P. Byrd, according to Lee County tax records. It is registered as Sado Enterprises, records show.
No damage amount was available.
Because of the estimated amount of damages, the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating, Cotten said.
United Refrigeration has 55 stores in the Carolinas with operations in Fayetteville, Chapel Hill and Raleigh, according to Michael Brown, a regional manager.