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Beloved Bartlesville western store suffers heavy fire damage

A long time fixture in Bartlesville, now heavily damaged. (KTUL)

A longtime Bartlesville fixture was heavily damaged in a fire Tuesday.

The fire ripped through Yocham Custom Leather around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, leaving much of the store in ashes.

"We have to help them build it back." said longtime customer Mary Morgan, who was headed to the store when the fire was burning. "Yocham's is like a staple for this area, we can't just leave it like this."

Officials say a lightning strike from a round of thunderstorms might have caused the fire. Several crews from surrounding areas battled the blaze for three hours, trying to save anything they could inside.

"This is all I have," co-owner Rick Yocham said. "I don't know of anything else to do."

Yocham says he's dreamed of owning his own western shop since he was 10 years old. He said he has become known for his custom saddles. Now, after 45 years, his family has to start over.

And this isn't the first time the store has fallen victim to fire. The store also burned down 28 years ago.

"We'll persevere and do the best we can," Yocham said. "Which is all any of us do."

Despite thousands of dollars in damage, about half of the building made it through the fire unscathed.

The owners' insurance company is working to figure what their next move is.

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