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Operators of Greensburg Farm Market hope to continue business

Raymond Stagner hopes to set up a temporary structure to get through flower-selling season

March 09, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Ann Pruitt, right, comforts her aunt, the owner of Greensburg Farm Market, Mary Stagner Wednesday morning as they survey damage from a fire that occurred Tuesday night. Peggy Drummond, left, and Ann Himes, far right, are relatives who also work at the market.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

One of the operators of the Greensburg Farm Market gutted by a fire Tuesday night said that he and his wife hope to continue their business and might set up a temporary structure at the site for the upcoming flower season.

"We're trying to move forward. There's so many things up in the air," Raymond Stagner said after walking through the charred remains of the market with fire investigators Wednesday afternoon.

The longtime local landmark at 17835 Virginia Ave. southwest of Hagerstown, where jellies, juices, snacks and produce were sold, burst into flames Tuesday night, frightening neighbors as embers blew toward their homes. Several neighbors starting calling 911 at 8:51 p.m.

Nearly 50 firefighters responded to the scene and had the fire under control in about 30 minutes, fire officials said.

Stagner, who operates the market with his wife Mary, said he had some people looking at the store to determine if it can be rebuilt.

He was also working with a contractor Wednesday to develop a plan for removing debris from the property, Stagner said.

He said that if a temporary structure is set up on the property, that would allow him and his wife to get through their annual flower-selling season, which is scheduled to start next week.

The flower season usually extends until mid-July, said Stagner, who has had the market at the site for 18 years.

The blaze caused $100,000 damage to the building and $50,000 in damages to contents, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said in a news release Wednesday.

The owner of the property is Geraldine Fuller, the release said.

After sifting through the remains Wednesday, Deputy State Fire Marshal Michael Mattingly said he and other investigators had not determined a cause of the fire.

"This is tough case," said Mattingly, noting that the amount of destruction at the scene is making it difficult to determine a cause of the fire.

Mattingly said it appears that the fire started behind a front wall of the store, although he said it is hard to tell what was in the space.

Mattingly said it remains to be seen whether any material from the property will have to be tested to determine a cause or whether the cause of the fire can be determined at all.

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