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River Street fire causes substantial losses

Sally Wallace consoles Kent Duell as he surveys the damage caused by a fire Aug. 22 that destroyed three buildings and their contents in a River St. complex he and his wife Glenda own.

Sally Wallace consoles Kent Duell as he surveys the damage caused by a fire Aug. 22 that destroyed three buildings and their contents in a River St. complex he and his wife Glenda own. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Hall, however said that investigators determined the fire may have been caused by a cigarette discarded by someone let into one of the buildings to inspect antiques.

The Aug. 22 blaze charred a nearby power pole, melted utility lines, cutting off power to about 10 customers, National Grid employees on the scene said.

At noon Aug. 22, Warren County Public Works employees were poised to push down the charred remains of the coal bin building so they wouldn’t fall into Mill St.

While smoke was still emerging from the remains of the coal bin building, Hall said that the damage was substantial, and that state and county fire Cause & Origin team members were on the scene investigating the blaze.

“This is the biggest structure fire we’ve had here in quite some time,” he said.

At about 6:45 p.m., Kent and Glenda Duell arrived on site to see the damage. Dozens of their friends offered condolences as Kent and Glenda gazed at the charred wreckage.

“This looks like Ground Zero,” Kent Duell said with a steely gaze. “This is unreal.”

“At least everyone’s alive, and that’s all that really matters,” Glenda Duell replied.

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