PINEVILLE, NC (WJZY) - It was a full house affair Wednesday in Pineville.
"I’ve been riding by, said it open in July. I've been waiting for the right time to get in here," loyal Salvation Army customer Earl Flowers said.
The store shutdown for months following a lightning strike that resulted in the golf store next door going up in flames, claiming the life of volunteer firefighter Richard Sheltra.
The Salvation Army store supervisor was there that fateful night when tragedy struck.
"At that point, I had heard about the fireman that had passed away which was certainly a tragedy. Once we knew there was no fire here it was more of concern and focus was on them and their families," Kevin Brown said.
Thanks to the brick wall between the two stores the flames never made it into the store. Unfortunately the wall wasn't enough to stop the smoke from seeping in, leaving soot and debris behind and destroying everything inside.
"We couldn't use it. So we had to get rid of all the clothing, we had to take out all of the store fixtures. All the furniture had to go," Brown said.
After two months of cleaning and collecting donations, the Salvation Army Store is finally back in business.
"It was a devastation for us as well. So we are really excited to finally be back open," Brown said.
Customers were also happy to see familiar faces.
"Not only do they have great merchandise, but do they have great people running the store. You will be always treated nicely here," Flowers said.
Paying tribute to the life lost in the fire, there's now a permanent photo of Sheltra by the door.
"They do a tremendous service for us every day. Whether it's a fire or car accident, you name it they are always the first ones on scene to help us and it's nice if we can help not only the community but them in any way we can,” Brown said.