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BELFAST, Maine — Just months after new owners Kyle and Helen Skinner purchased the Goose River Grocery on Swan Lake Avenue, a fire Tuesday night ripped through their building and gutted it.
On Wednesday morning, the couple waited in the parking lot outside the store for an investigator from the Maine state fire marshal’s office to arrive. The acrid smell of smoke was still thick in the air and access to what’s left of the small grocery store was now blocked by yellow plastic police tape.
“It’s pretty bad,” Kyle Skinner said of the damage. “I’m going to say it’s a total loss.”
Belfast Fire Chief Jim Richards said that one of the city’s firefighters drove by around 9 p.m. Tuesday and saw smoke in the road. He turned around and saw that there was heavy smoke coming from the grocery and flames coming out the rear window.
It appeared that the fire began in the kitchen, he said, though he could not be sure. Altogether, 24 Belfast firefighters responded to the fire call and it took them about 10 minutes to “knock it down,” Richards said.
“They do a good job,” he said.
Although the building’s exterior seemed to look OK, the interior suffered heat, smoke and water damage, as well as being burned by the fire, he said. No one was injured as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.
Kyle Skinner said that he and his wife in April bought the store, which is a neighborhood institution. It is insured, he said.
“I want to rebuild it. The store’s been here a long time, and people like it,” he said. “It’s kind of a hub for the locals.”