Baton Rouge, La (BRPROUD) – Early Wednesday morning, Amdo Yahia woke up to the smell of smoke. Little did he know he would lose his home and business all in one night.

Yahia lived in the back of his grocery store, Brother Moe’s. He was able to escape the building having only enough time to grab his backpack filled with important documents and some cash, before leaving everything else behind.

“I just opened up the back door and run to the outside,” Yahia recalled.

Baton Rouge Fire Department responded to the call at 4:14 in the morning and continued to fight the blaze for hours. The building was destroyed leaving behind a pile of rubble. The loss of the building has made an impact on the neighborhood.

Lawrenceen Wheeler has lived in this neighborhood for 15 years, he says this store was an essential part of the community.

“It meant a lot to me and the whole community,” said Lawrenceen Wheeler.

Huy Nguyen owned the building for nearly a decade, he held back tears as he watched what was left smoldering.

“It’s heartbroken ma’am. We had a lot of memories through the store and it was special to the neighborhood and we are going to miss the store but hopefully, we can build back in the future,” Nguyen said.

Wheeler says the nearest store is miles away, leaving the community stranded.

“We’ve got a Dollar Store across the street there, but it’s not the same as having a corner store, corner store is the heart of the neighborhood,” Wheeler explained.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation according to Baton Rouge Fire Department Public Information Officer Justin Hill. He said with this level of damage, it could be difficult to find the source of the blaze.

“Right now our hearts [are] broken because I would never expect something like this to happen, would never expect this to happen,” Nguyen said.

For Yahia, he says he would like to start a new business but it will probably have to be in a new location.

“That store is gone, we can’t do nothing with that, that store is gone,” Yahia said.