Owner says Bakerton Market will bounce back from fire

July 06, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

BAKERTON, W.Va. - One of the owners of the Bakerton Market said Tuesday that the store will continue doing business, despite a fire Monday that caused extensive damage in the building and destroyed equipment.

Wanda Mason-Ballenger, who owns the store with her husband, Jerry Ballenger, said the store will be refurbished, or torn down and rebuilt.

In the meantime, Mason-Ballenger said a temporary building will be moved onto the property, which she hopes will allow the store at 834 Carter Ave. to reopen on a smaller scale within about a week.


"We're not going to let our community or our customers down," Mason-Ballenger said Tuesday afternoon.

Monday's fire was reported at 6:59 p.m. Fire officials believe the blaze started in the ceiling of the building. The store closed about an hour before the fire started, officials said.

Firefighters from four fire departments were on the scene for more than three hours.

Steve Wilt, chief of Friendship Fire Co., said Tuesday that Mason-Ballenger told him she believes the fire started in a light fixture.

Ed Robinson of the state fire marshal's office will make a final determination of the cause, Wilt said.

Robinson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Much of the ceiling was destroyed, as well as produce in the store, Wilt said. Equipment like freezers also was destroyed, Wilt said.

Wilt estimated the fire caused $150,000 in damages to the building and more than $100,000 in damage to its contents.

The store also serves as the town's post office, although no mail was destroyed and damage to that part of the operation was minimal, Wilt and Mason-Ballenger said.

Until the temporary store is operating, local residents can pick up their mail after 1 p.m. daily at the Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) Post Office, Mason-Ballenger said.

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