County investigating cause of antique store fire

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — The Shenandoah County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a Woodstock antique store on Feb. 10.

According to Lt. Aaron Sigler of Woodstock Fire Department, crews at the station received a call about a structure fire at 5:57 a.m. and arrived at Just Looking Antiques and Thrift Shop at 164 N. Main St. three minutes later.

The 3,200-square-foot building was engulfed in flames by the time crews got there, Sigler said.

“We tried to go inside but could not due to the steps being burned out,” he said. “It got to a point where I had to pull my guys out due to flashover and structural collapse.”

Flashover is what happens when a fire jumps from a section of a room, such as an electrical outlet, to engulfing a whole room.

Crews then focused on keeping the flames from spreading to nearby buildings, including a BB&T branch next door, Sigler said.

Once the fire was extinguished, a demolition crew arrived at about 11 a.m. to raze the remains.

“If we had left it up, it would have been a safety hazard,” he said. “It was a safe take-down where we knew nobody would get hurt.”

A man who lived on the building’s second floor escaped unharmed, Sigler said. His name was not released.

Fire Marshal David Ferguson is investigating what caused the blaze, Sigler said.

The property was owned by Louis and Dorothy Gatchell of Woodstock and was valued at $133,100, according to county records.

The Toms Brook Volunteer Fire Department, Edinburg Volunteer Fire Company, Woodstock Volunteer Rescue Squad and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue aided Woodstock in combating the fire.

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