Business owner looking ahead to recovery after fire destroys building


BRIDGEPORT, WVa. – Artworks owner Lotus MacDowell was going about her morning before coming to her Bridgeport business when she first heard it was on fire. By the time she got there, crews were already working to put it out.

“There were five or six fire trucks already and the place was just engulfed in smoke, and then the flames started and went out the roof, and just took over the place, and the roof started caving in,” said MacDowell.

Despite the efforts of a handful of area fire departments, it wasn’t enough to save her business, which fire officials said was a total loss. Now she’s left to pick of the pieces of a place she’s operated for decades.

“It’s just hard. You spend your whole life building up for a business and putting your love and heart into it and then in like one hour it’s gone,” MacDowell said.

The fire also caused significant smoke damage to the Provence Market Cafe, located next door in the same building. Officials are still looking for a cause, and Bridgeport Fire Chief Phil Hart said they’ll be getting help to determine how it started.

“Once it is extinguished, we’ll be doing an investigation and contacting the fire marshal’s office to assist us with the amount of damage it’s done,” said Hart.

Despite the major loss, MacDowell isn’t giving up on Artworks. She said she has plans for the future that the fire won’t stop.

“I think we’ll assess everything, but I’m not planning to go out of business, I’m not planning to stop. I got too much good stuff to do, so I’ll hang in there, figure out our next course, and what we’ll do to solve it, but we’ll be up and running as soon as we can,” said MacDowell.

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