Only Grocery Store In Toulon Burned Down - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Only Grocery Store In Toulon Burned Down

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TOULON IL -- The only grocery store in Toulon, Illinois went up in flames Friday afternoon. It took firefighters from twelve different districts several hours to knock down the flames.

John Leezer owns the business right next door to Super Valu. He and eight other employees ran out as the building went up in flames.

Leezer says, “We were all in the building, and someone came running through and was yelling that there was a fire and we should get out. By that time, we could smell smoke.”

He says the fire was so large that Toulon’s water tower was drained out. Twelve other fire districts came to help put it out.

Leezer says this is a step back, as the community worked so hard to get this Super Valu up and running. Years ago, the grocery store went through different owners and ended up closing for a few years. Then, a group, including Leezer, came together and created Stark County Ventures LLC.

Stark County Ventures LLC were able to gain funds from local investors to buy the building and get a grocery store back in town. They watched all their hard work go up in flames yesterday.

Leezer says, “This is very disheartening now. It’s deflating that this happened.”

If and until they rebuild, Toulon residents will travel to Wyoming or Kewanee to buy food.

Anna Steelman is a resident of Wyoming, but works and goes to school in Toulon. She says, “It’s a big loss because I work at the ice cream shop (Main Street Ice Cream) uptown and we always go there for supplies.”

Leezer also says there are many elderly people in town that can’t drive. The Toulon Super Valu would take phone calls and deliver groceries straight to their doors.

But during this trying time, residents say it shows the strength of the community.

Steelman says, “I feel like we’re all going to come together and eventually, hopefully it will come back and we got to stick together until then.”

Leezer agrees, “I was getting calls and texts on my cell phone right away from all kinds of people offering whatever they can do to help. It’s been tremendous.”

Leezer’s office is still out of power and they have suffered some damage from the fire. The Toulon Fire Department has let them set up office temporarily at the fire station.

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