A March fire that destroyed a store on Water Street in Randolph started accidentally.
Sgt. Ken Grimes of the Office of State Fire Marshal said the March 26 fire at Webb’s Store originated near the back of the store at ceiling level. Grimes said there are a number of electrical systems and a ceiling-hung heater near where the fire started.
“We don’t know which may be responsible, but those are certainly two possible ignition sources,” Grimes said.
Dan Kilmer, who owns the store, met this week with the town Planning Board to finalize reconstruction plans.
“It looks good for a rebuild,” Kilmer said.
Firefighters were first alerted to the blaze by police responding to a burglar alarm in the store. That lead to speculation that someone might have been inside the store before the fire.
However, Grimes said surveillance video confirmed the fire started accidentally in the area where investigators had suspected it started.
“It helped us eliminate the possibility of a burglary occurring beforehand,” Grimes said. The burglar alarm was triggered by a short-circuit caused by melting wire, Grimes said. Investigators said immediately after the fire that fires often set off burglar alarms.
Grimes said the investigation is complete.
Nobody was injured in the fire, which was reported around 3 a.m.
Firefighters from Randolph, Pittston, Farmingdale and Gardiner took about 90 minutes to control the fire and another 90 minutes to put it out. Crews had to contend with 10 5-gallon containers of racing fuel stored inside the store.
“Five of them caught fire and intensified the fire tremendously,” Randolph Fire Chief Ron Cunningham said shortly after the fire.
Kilmer, who has owned the store for six years, said his security firm called him at 3 a.m. to report a burglar alarm. When he arrived minutes later, the building was engulfed in smoke.
Kilmer, who has six employees, said the charred remains of the old store have been removed to make way for the new building. He said the new store will be essentially the same size as the original store. Kilmer is pleased that the fuel pumps were not damaged during the blaze.
Kilmer, who praised efforts by his insurance company, hopes to re-open within the next two months.
“We’re looking to get going for summer service,” he said.
Craig Crosby — 621-5642 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @CraigCrosby4