Pictures: Fire destroys Palm Bay family’s business; investigators call it suspicious

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 4:03 PM EST

A Palm Bay family is reeling after fire guts part of their business, forcing them to close down.

  • Palm Bay family business burns down
  • Fire began outside in dumpster
  • Investigators calling fire suspicious  

And right now, investigators are calling it suspicious.

Investigators say the fire started outside a building in a dumpster, then spread to the carpet store.

Now, the Wainuskis family, who worked on their livelihood for decades, is dealing with disaster after the fire caused a million dollars in damage.

"Absolute chaos and panic," said Ashley Wainuskis. “I mean, this is my family's company.”

It is a business Wainuskis and her family have run since 1989. Now they are picking up the pieces at Carpet Fashions after flames broke out Tuesday night.

"I was two when it started, so it's all I've ever known," she told Spectrum News 13.

What's known at this point is that firefighters rushed to the Babcock Street store after a dumpster full of used carpet padding meant for recycling was on fire. It quickly spread to the building, filling it will smoke.

All the carpet rolls made for easy fuel, and it took crews hours to put the fire out.

The fire marshall and detectives gathered evidence throughout the day. But the question is, was the fire set on purpose or by someone?

"It hits too close to home, it's personal," Wainuskis said. "It's just not right."

The family owns another store in Melbourne and will work there as they try and rebuild in Palm Bay.

If you have any information about the fire, call Palm Bay Police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.