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Vendors deal with the aftermath of Diamond Flea Market fire

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Investigators say the flea market on Diamond Avenue is considered a total loss.

This means vendors and the building owners have probably lost everything.

“Over in this section - over here we had a lot of ‘Star Wars’ and some ‘Marvel’ and in the middle was a lot of our game stuff,” Daniel Barritt, the owner of Evansville Toys and Games said.

[EPD: Man arrested in connection to Diamond Flea Market fire]

Barritt is just one of about 30 vendors whose life got turned upside down as they watched smoke fill the sky on Friday.

“I mean this is what I’m passionate about,” Barritt said. “I love this stuff. My family and this stuff - it brings me joy.”

“When I was watching it, it was sickening,” Barritt continued. “It was hard to watch, I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t stop it.”

Evansville police say after surveillance video was found and a long search, 25-year old-Christopher Michael Liggett confessed to police to starting the fire and is now in custody, bringing some relief to those affected.

“It’s not just the business that we lost, it’s the whole feeling and the whole demeanor of all of the vendors and all of the customers,” Barbara Staub, the owner of the Flea Market building said.

But now, Barritt and his “work” family are picking up the pieces to rebuild.

“We’ll build it back,” Barritt said. “Obviously it’s difficult. It’s not something that we ever wanted to happen. You don’t think it’s ever going to happen. But it has, and we just have to one step at a time, rebuild.”

He says what’s most important? It’s not the “stuff” inside that he lost.

“This stuff can be replaced, but if someone would have been here and got hurt, they couldn’t be replaced,” Barritt said.

However, those spending their hours picking up the pieces with him.

“It can be replaced, it’s just going to take a lot of time effort and money of course,” Barritt said.

Multiple GoFundMe accounts have been made for those affected.

[Click here to donate to the fundraiser created for Barritt]

[Click here to donate to the fundraiser created for Staub]

Another issue vendors have been dealing with is looting.

It’s also a serious safety concern. The owner says there are still parts of the building that aren’t completely safe to be around.

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