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Book Mine Employee Recounts Lead-Up To Devastating Fire

Book Mine employee Tim Laughlin was inside the store at the time the fire broke out. Here, he sits in front of Jimmy John's on Gaines Street, across from the rubble of the book store. 12/15/17

Tallahassee lost a local institution Thursday. The long-standing Book Mine store on Gaines Street has been destroyed by a fire.

Book Mine employee Tim Laughlin was inside the building when the fire began. He had just gone to the bathroom when he heard the front door chime.

“[I] was in the bathroom not even a minute, and then I heard glass break, then I heard a big boom!  I didn’t know what was going on. So I ran and said, 'who’s in the store?’ And the whole store was in flames, all the way up to the roof.”

He managed to get out by going through the garage.

The Book Mine was one of the last few locally-owned buildings remaining in the College Town area. New, mixed-use residential and commercial buildings have risen in recent years, transforming the area into a destination for college students.

The Tallahassee Fire Department says the cause of the fire is under investigation and that no dollar amount for damages has been determined. The structure was a Quonset hut that dates back to the late to mid-1940's and purchased around the time Tallahassee's World War II-era Dale Mabry Airfield was decommissioned. It was  once home to a hydraulic factory before becoming a bookstore.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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