Cause of massive fire at Jim's Super in SE Houston released

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Thursday, August 6, 2020
Neighbors lose much-needed community grocery store to big fire
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Neighbors worried about getting food in their neighborhood after Jim's burns down.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A massive fire that destroyed a southeast Houston grocery store last week was an accident and may have been caused by an electrical malfunction, the Houston Fire Department announced.

In an update released by HFD on Thursday, the fire at "Jim's Super" on Yellowstone Boulevard near Calhoun Road was ruled accidental and was caused by "an unspecified electrical malfunction inside the void space between the roof assembly and the walk-in cooler."

SEE MORE: Neighbors lose much-needed community grocery store to massive fire

According to investigators, the fire left $750,000 worth of damage.

No injuries were reported.

One of the owners, Karen Huynh, told Eyewitness News her manager was the one who saw smoke inside and acted quickly. The manager escorted everyone out and called 911.

"The whole building is collapsed," she told ABC13 at the time. "It's heartbreaking to see that there is nothing left. We worked really hard to build it up. Now, it's gone in matters of seconds. Just completely gone."

A few days later, an emergency food giveaway, organized by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and the Houston Food Bank, was held for those who rely on the store for groceries.

Neighbors went home with toiletries, fresh produce, and meat.

"When it comes down to people like me who maybe have a smaller income bracket, just to be honest, it's kind of hard to get that good food," said a food recipient at the time. "When you have it available to you, and for free, it's honestly like a God-send."

READ MORE: SE Houston neighbors in desperation for food after massive fire

In a community already deemed a "food desert" in Houston, folks living near Jim's Super grocery store lined up and waited for food to be loaded. Hit play to understand the struggle

Smoke from the fire could be seen miles away last week.

SkyEye captured the collapse during the early evening just as firefighters responded to the store.

At the time of the blaze, HFD said the fire was declared defensive within about 15 minutes with a report of a collapse.

READ MORE: Shelter-in-Place order lifted after 3-alarm fire in SW Houston