Wilson tire shop’s future ‘in God’s hands’ after fire | The Wilson Times
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Wilson tire shop’s future ‘in God’s hands’ after fire

Posted on December 16, 2021

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Spectators watch from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park as a Wilson Fire/Rescue Services ladder pours water on the burning B&S Wholesale Tire Center building.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Spectators watch from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park as a Wilson Fire/Rescue Services ladder pours water on the burning B&S Wholesale Tire Center building.

B&S Wholesale Tire Center co-owner Martha Pridgen watches as her business burns Wednesday night.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

B&S Wholesale Tire Center co-owner Martha Pridgen watches as her business burns Wednesday night.

Flames shoot through the B&S Wholesale Tire Center's roof Wednesday night as Wilson firefighters work to extinguish the blaze.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Flames shoot through the B&S Wholesale Tire Center's roof Wednesday night as Wilson firefighters work to extinguish the blaze.

Flames shoot through the B&S Wholesale Tire Center's roof Wednesday night in downtown Wilson.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Flames shoot through the B&S Wholesale Tire Center's roof Wednesday night in downtown Wilson.

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighters enter the B&S Wholesale Tire Center from the rear of the building Wednesday night.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighters enter the B&S Wholesale Tire Center from the rear of the building Wednesday night.

Spectators watch from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park as a Wilson Fire/Rescue Services ladder pours water on the burning B&S Wholesale Tire Center building.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Spectators watch from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park as a Wilson Fire/Rescue Services ladder pours water on the burning B&S Wholesale Tire Center building.

B&S Wholesale Tire Center co-owner Martha Pridgen watches as her business burns Wednesday night.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

B&S Wholesale Tire Center co-owner Martha Pridgen watches as her business burns Wednesday night.

B&S Wholesale Tire Center co-owner Martha Pridgen watches as her business burns Wednesday night.
Flames shoot through the B&S Wholesale Tire Center's roof Wednesday night as Wilson firefighters work to extinguish the blaze.
Flames shoot through the B&S Wholesale Tire Center's roof Wednesday night in downtown Wilson.
Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighters enter the B&S Wholesale Tire Center from the rear of the building Wednesday night.
Spectators watch from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park as a Wilson Fire/Rescue Services ladder pours water on the burning B&S Wholesale Tire Center building.

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7821

A beloved family-owned business was devastated in a Wednesday night fire that sent smoke billowing over downtown Wilson.

“It is in God’s hands,” said Martha Pridgen, who owns B&S Wholesale Tire Center with her son Jonathan. “That is what it is — it is in God’s hands.”

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services personnel responded to a structure fire at 8:08 p.m. on the 200 block of Goldsboro Street.

“The problem that we had is we couldn’t put any crews inside the building for safety reasons,” Fire Chief Albert Alston said.

He said part of the roof collapsed at 225 Goldsboro St., and that hindered crews working to extinguish the flames. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the one structure and get it under control in one hour and five minutes.

“It is a well-oiled machine,” Alston said of his personnel, who were assisted by Silver Lake firefighters along with Wilson police, city utility crews and Wilson County EMS.

The blaze is under investigation. Pridgen said a neighbor reported that a garage door at the business malfunctioned and opened, which triggered an alarm. It’s unclear whether the malfunction caused the fire.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Fire tears through Wilson tire shop

B&S was founded by Butch Pridgen, Martha’s late husband, but the building is about 100 years old. It previously served as a stable, providing shelter for farmers’ horses when they came to town for tobacco auctions.

“It was a livery stable, so the means of transportation changed, but it has always been transportation,” Pridgen said.

Crews worked for several hours to ensure the fire was extinguished and determine the extent of the damage to neighboring buildings.

“That has been a locksmith place for 80-some years, if not more,” Pridgen said of O’Brien Locksmith at 223 Goldsboro St. “So all of this is history. When we tell you to come to downtown historic Wilson, this is historic Wilson.”

Work was set to begin in a few days to frame out a new roof at 220 Goldsboro St., where The Cardinal Bar & Grill is set to open in 2022.

“I thought about Jonathan, honestly,” MidSouth Roofing and Construction contractor Bankston Lewis said. “It is a family business in a small town that has been here a lot of years. ...Hopefully they’ll be able to come back stronger than ever.”

Pridgen said many business leaders and loyal customers reached out Wednesday to express their support.

“Wilson has been good to us and the surrounding counties have been good to us,” she said. “And it is going to be a shame we won’t be able to do that for a while, but God knows what is best and he’ll make a way.”

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