GRANVILLE -- Two downtown buildings were heavily damaged by a fire early Monday that investigators have traced to an electrical problem.
No one was hurt but the fire, which was called in to the fire department at 3:56 a.m., gutted a three-story building at 12 Main St., just east of Scotties’ Coffee Shop. The building housed All in One Exchange, a pawn shop, on the first floor, and at least one apartment upstairs.
A woman and young child lived in an apartment above the pawn shop, and both escaped the building without injuries. It was unclear where they were staying later Monday.
The building next door, a stone-faced former Washington County National Bank building, was also heavily damaged. It was owned by a local artist who uses the two-story structure for a part-time gallery, officials said.
Both buildings were demolished later Monday.
Scotties’ Coffee Shop — a popular gathering spot in the village — appeared to have suffered smoke and/or water damage, Granville Fire Chief Ryan Pedone said.
Owner Tom Scott could not be reached later Monday and it could not be determined when the shop would re-open, but police said late Monday that the damage seemed minimal. The business’ page on Facebook indicated a Wednesday morning re-opening was planned.
“There was very little damage in Scotties’, there was some water in the basement and a faint odor of smoke and the firefighters had to pull down the drop ceiling to check for fire,” Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said.
Firefighters battled flames for more than six hours before the fire was declared out at about 10:30 a.m. Main Street remained closed to traffic through the downtown area into late afternoon. A crowd of onlookers watched from Church Street as the pawn shop building burned and parts of it collapsed.
An electrical problem was found to have caused the blaze. When firefighters arrived, they observed sparking from electrical meters on the back of the All in One Exchange shop, Pedone said. There is a parking lot at the back of the building.
Pedone said the fire was initially reported as a Dumpster fire behind the building, but firefighters found the blaze began in an electrical connection on the building next to where the Dumpster was.
Both buildings were demolished later Monday, after Washington County code enforcement officers reviewed the situation.
The pawn shop building had a “for sale” sign on its east side, and Pedone said a woman who lives in Hawaii owns it.
Fire officials had been unable to contact her or the owner of the other building Monday morning, he said.
Pedone said firefighters did a great job keeping the fire from spreading down the connected commercial block of buildings.
“It was a very impressive stop,” he said. “We’ve had block fires in Granville before and this could have been much bigger.”
An estimated 20 fire companies from around Washington County and western Vermont were called to the scene, and two ladder trucks poured water on the buildings from above.