Vendors left to pick up the pieces after flea market fire

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – One person was arrested and charged with arson after a massive fire destroyed a flea market in Evansville. This comes as vendors work to pick up the pieces.

“At least maybe we can get some satisfaction that if this person’s been doing this in other locations at least he’s off the street,” said Barbara Staub, the owner of the building.

Police arrested 25-year-old Christopher Liggett Saturday after they said he was seen on surveillance video in the area. He was found at a hotel nearby.

Police said he confessed to starting the fire while being questioned.

At least 30 vendors lost their livelihood.

“I didn’t know how much it meant to people. It meant more than I even realized,” said vendor Daniel Barritt.

He sold toys and games at the flea market for about five years. He said he showed up Friday night as the flames took hold of the building.

“I was looking forward to seeing so many of the people today that had messaged me they were excited to come in, and shop, and see all the cool stuff they wanted to pick up for them or their kids. And unfortunately we can’t do that now,” said Barritt. “We had a tremendous amount of stuff in there. The biggest loss is that all these people can’t have the opportunity to get it now, and bring the smiles to their faces they could of had.”

The owner of the building said many of the items lost are irreplaceable.

“We’re the oldest flea market in the entire city of Evansville. We’ve been here since 1984. That’s 37 years. And you know, there’s a lot of history. People all over this city are blowing up Facebook and offering up their their sympathies and everything, because they grew up here, or their kids have come in here every weekend,” said Staub.

Vendors spent the day sifting through the rubble, not knowing when or if they’ll come back.

“You can’t come back from anything that devastating without having some kind of scars,” said Staub. “I’m just really grateful for all of the customers that have shouted out and all the people that have come by. They’re awesome. They’re amazing. I couldn’t ask for better people. The vendors, I can’t ask for better people. And I really want to put a special thank you, God, for all the firefighters that were here last night. There was probably 30 firefighters here with three pumper trucks and they were here all night long. And you know, I mean, until you’ve been through something like this, you have no idea how hard these guys work.”

Fire officials are still investigating.

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