Cooks Flea Market in Winston-Salem to reopen this weekend after fire

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Cooks Flea Market has a schedule reopening date after a fire tore through the roof of part of the market on June 5.

The flea market will reopen with a reduced number of vendors Saturday and Sunday.

Officials expect the market to be back up to full capacity with a modified shopping area the next weekend, June 28 and 29.

Management has been working with the local fire department, the company’s insurance agency, business owners and a professional remediation team to make sure the market is safe and ready to reopen.

“Vendors displaced by the fire will be provided with temporary selling spaces within the main building until the damaged structure has been cleared by the engineering and remediation teams,” management said in a news release.

The damage is so significant that officials said portions of the building will need to be demolished.

Photos taken by Tony Famolaro show that the beams supporting the roof were melted. Famolaro is with Southern Comforts, a construction crew out of Nashville, Tennessee, that is overseeing the cleanup process.

The incident has also caused some to lose hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Michelle Miller has a clothing booth at the market called “The J Spot” and estimates she’s lost upwards of $7,000 worth of merchandise. Her booth was set up right where thick, black smoke was seen shooting out of the roof.

Miller says the circumstances have left some sellers worried about making ends meet.

“There’s people in that flea market, that’s all they do,” Miller said. “That’s how they feed their families. That’s how they pay their mortgage and that’s a sad situation.”

She is just one of the approximately 500 people who have shops inside.

The morning  after the fire, around 30 vendors showed up to try to get inside the market. However, they weren’t allowed to get as close as they would’ve liked.

“When your stuff is there you want to know ‘What have I lost?’” Miller said. “But no one communicated, cause I wouldn’t have came.”

Under the Sun owner Monica Hawkins is worried the fire could cause a ripple effect for business.

“The weekend is where you make your money,” Hawkins said. “When the smoke clears and if you have any kind of allergies, and people aren’t going to want to bring their kids right away. But, hopefully, by the following weekend, things are going to be cleared up more.”

Some of the vendors say there are a lot of people using power outlets and surge protectors to run their booth.

However, they have no idea if those actions are what caused the blaze.

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