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The original location of Texas Buc-ee is destroyed in a major fire

Buc-ee's superfans were heartbroken after the iconic chain's original location was destroyed in a major fire on Monday.

Emergency services from various agencies responded to the fire at the store in Luling, Texas, around 10:30 a.m. and cordoned off the area while firefighters attempted to bring the blaze under control.

Photos posted online by the Luling Fire Department showed enormous clouds of smoke that contrasted sharply with the fire department's cheerful, smiling beaver mascot.

The Caldwell County Emergency Management Agency later said the fire had been extinguished and cleanup efforts were underway, but advised residents to avoid the area if possible. No further information on the cause of the fire was released.

The original Buc-ee's building opened more than two decades ago in 2003, but was replaced by a brand new center directly across the street that opened on June 10.

The original Buc-ee's building opened more than two decades ago in 2003, but was replaced by a brand new center directly across the street that opened on June 10.
The original Buc-ee's building opened more than two decades ago in 2003, but was replaced by a brand new center directly across the street that opened on June 10. (Getty Images)

With 7,000 square feet of retail space and 120 gas pumps, the new Buc-ees is the largest convenience store in the world. It will employ over 200 people and “offer thousands of snacks, meals and beverages for travelers on the go,” the company told USA Today.

The American chain of giant gas stations and convenience stores has become known for its street food – including BBQ brisket sandwiches and its famous Beaver Nuggets – as well as the “world's cleanest toilets” and “friendliest” beaver mascot. Over the years, it has developed a cult following across the States.

“The new Buc-ee's Luling will be the largest Buc-ee's store in the country and will bring the largest Buc-ee's back to where the legend began,” the company said in a press release last month before the fire.

The previous record holder was Buc-ee's in Sevierville, Tennessee, which also has 120 gas pumps, 22 charging stations for electric vehicles and a 76-meter-long car wash in its 7,000-square-meter space.

Next year, groundbreaking is scheduled for a new location along Interstate 75 near Ocala, Florida.

While it was initially reported that the Florida chain would break Luling's record with an incredible 7,400 square feet of retail space, the company insisted that the largest convenience store would remain in its home state of Texas.

“Buc-ee's is currently in the design and permitting phases for a 74,000-square-foot store in Ocala, FL, our largest store model outside the state of Texas,” Stan Beard, Buc-ee's director of real estate and development, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal on June 7.

“In terms of floor space, the largest store outside of Texas will be no larger than 74,000 square feet.”

Travel center Buc-ee's was founded in Texas in 1982 and began its expansion in the United States in 2018 with the opening of a location in Alabama.

The company has since opened 14 more locations in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Colorado. Earlier this year, Buc-ee's announced the opening of its first location in North Carolina.

The Associated Press contributed to this report