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Catoosa Business Owners Survey Damage After Strip Mall Fire

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Business owners are still coming to grips with a weekend fire that, for some, took away their livelihood. Business owners are still coming to grips with a weekend fire that, for some, took away their livelihood.
Investigators say the fire started behind Goo Ruu Pizza and the Dollar General store. Investigators say the fire started behind Goo Ruu Pizza and the Dollar General store.
Catherine Schockley's husband, Jeremy is part-owner of Goo Ruu Pizza. Catherine Schockley's husband, Jeremy is part-owner of Goo Ruu Pizza.
CATOOSA, Oklahoma -

Business owners are still coming to grips with a weekend fire that, for some, took away their livelihood.

Tulsa and Catoosa fire crews battled a blaze across from the Hard Rock Casino for hours Saturday morning, but were unable to keep it from destroying two business and damaging others.

One side of the Catoosa strip mall at 193rd and Admiral was fenced off Monday. We spoke with a number of renters who were there to survey the damage.

Investigators say the fire started behind Goo Ruu Pizza and the Dollar General store. Crews began fighting it by working from inside, but were forced to pull out after both buildings became unsafe.

The ceilings eventually collapsed and now only a charred skeleton remains.

"It was disappointing to see it go," said Catoosa resident Dave Benton. "It's going to inconvenience a lot of people."

Benton said he used to shop at the Dollar General in the strip mall, got his hair cut at another business there, and even had insurance through the Shelter Insurance office, where Karen Sprouse worked.

"It's very hard to breath in there," Sprouse said Monday.

Sprouse showed us inside her office, where the strong smell of smoke still remains. She said she and the owner laid tarps over the electronics to save them from the water.

"It was pouring in on him, and he lost some of his equipment," Sprouse said. "It's just terrible...because we really don't have anything else out here."

5/4/2013 Related Story: Several Businesses Damaged In Catoosa Strip Mall Fire

The loss cuts even deeper for some, like Catherine Shockley.

"It is a loss for words, there's nothing left," Shockley said.

Her husband, Jeremy, is part-owner of Goo Ruu Pizza.

"It was our livelihood. We were hoping to gain great success with our business," she said.

Shockley said they spent the last three years building it from the ground up. While their future may be uncertain, she said they are remaining optimistic during this difficult time.

"We believe God is working on our behalf and we're gonna have a bigger and better place," Shockley said.

A firewall between the Dollar General and the insurance agency kept the fire from spreading, but other businesses took a lot smoke and water damage. The O'Reilly Auto Parts store was far enough down that it received very little damage.

The businesses there are still waiting to see what the insurance will cover, and those spared by the fire wall are seeing if the electricity can be turned back on.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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