Brooks Co. community left without local dentist after fire

Courtesy: WALB News 10
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By: Ri'Shawn Bassette | WALB News 10
August 9, 2019

BROOKS COUNTY, Ga. (WALB) -- Many in Brooks County are left without options after the only dentist’s office in the county was destroyed in a major fire.

On Tuesday, a fire tore through Dr. Larry Black’s office in Quitman.

“You just want to pinch yourself and wake up. It just doesn’t seem like it’s real," said Black.

Black said when he got the call from his alarm company about the fire, he was expecting to see a small fire and some minor damage.

“We don’t keep a lot of flammable material in a dental office. It’s just, we’ve got some computers and we’ve got some power strips," said Black.

When he got to the office that night, it was a completely different story.
“When you look at the office that you’ve gone to work in for the past 10 years and you’re used to seeing it one way and you walk up and it’s just not there anymore," said Black.

Black said it’s a tough pill to swallow.

Maurice Freeman lives just a short distance from the facility. He said he couldn’t do anything but watch as his dentist and friend’s business went up in flames.

“My heart goes out to him. Not very many people like dentists. I definitely don’t, but I need him. He’s a great guy in this community," said Freeman.

A great guy that Freeman said the community wants to see return to his home office.

“We just don’t like riding to Valdosta and Thomasville on everything. So we need him to tear this place down and build it right back in a matter of two weeks because I have an appointment real soon," said Freeman.

Thankful that no one got hurt, Black said he’s keeping it positive for his family’s sake.

“You have to look and see the things that didn’t happen," said Black.

Black opened the facility more than 10 years ago and said he’s looking to make a come back.

“I’ve always enjoyed my time over in Quitman. The people have always been great to me. We’re going to get back in there and get going as soon as we can," said Black.

Until then, they expect to continue serving patients at his Valdosta location.

Black said he welcomes his patients to come on over in the meantime.
The Quitman Fire Department said they are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

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