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Fire damages Ranson, W.Va., store

August 03, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

RANSON, W.VA. - A fire early Saturday that ripped through the Southern States store on Mildred Street in Ranson caused about $500,000 in damages, said Ed Smith, chief of the Independent Fire Company.

A lightning strike might have caused the fire, Smith said.

A West Virginia state fire inspector has been called in to make a conclusive decision.

"We feel very confident that's what it is, but we want an investigator to look at it in further detail," Smith said, adding he didn't know when the inquiry would begin.

No one was injured in the fire, which began about 4:20 a.m., Smith said. No one was in the store at the time, he said.

The fire damaged the first floor of the building and "grain in the warehouse," Smith said. Other merchandise was destroyed, including dog food and food for farm animals, he said.

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Water damage to the basement also was reported, Smith said.

The building is worth about $1 million, Smith said.

Sixty-six firefighters from 13 fire companies in Berkeley and Jefferson counties and parts of Virginia responded to the blaze, Smith said. The last firefighter cleared the scene about 9:45 a.m., he said.

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