Fire at massage therapy business considered suspicious

Owner is not convinced

— Two local massage businesses suffered damage from a fire which investigators consider suspicious.

The Ticonderoga fire department responded to a call around 8:30 a.m. Aug. 5 at Lakeside Massage Therapy, 6 Carnegie Place. The business was owned by Stephanie Lemieux, Ticonderoga Police Investigator Dan LaFrance said.

Lemieux realized something was wrong when she pulled into the business driveway that day and noticed smoke coming out of the building’s back window. Additionally, the west-facing windows were blackened with smoke, LaFrance said.

Lemieux exited her vehicle, went to the building’s back window where she noticed an air-conditioner, normally in a window, on the ground, the investigator said. Lemieux went back to the front door, which she opened, to reveal an interior filled with smoke. That’s when she called 911.

“The smoke was so heavy I couldn’t go in,” Lemieux said.

When the fire department arrived, it appeared as if the fire had put itself out, LaFrance said. There was only a small flame remaining on the interior’s floor, which the department put out.

“I was lucky in that it (the fire) didn’t engulf the whole office,” Lemieux said.

The fire department ventilated the room before requesting the assistance of Essex County fire investigators. The latter group considers the incident a “suspicious fire.” This assessment was due to the fire’s location, which had no nearby source of ignition, and the displaced air conditioner, LaFrance said.

Lemieux did not want to speculate on what caused the fire, but seemed to believe it wasn’t foul play.

“I’m not tooting my own horn, but I have a lot of friends, and — hopefully — not a lot of enemies,” Lemieux said. “I don’t think that I was targeted.”

The case is currently under investigation by the Ticonderoga police department.

The building is still structurally sound, having mostly suffered internal smoke and heat damage, the investigator said. Smoke and heat from the fire also effected a nearby business, Serenity Therapeutic Massage, owned by Heather Osier, that is located in the same building. The shared structure is possessed by Adirondack Waste Management.

The fire burned Lemieux’s rug, and totally destroyed her massage table, but surrounding items, such as books, only suffered smoke damage, she said.

Lemieux will be working out of Dr. Harold Sammis’ office, Champlain Valley Chiropractic, where she has worked previously.

“He’s graciously opened up a room for me,” Lemieux said.

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