Fire damages Frenchtown grocery store

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ST. THOMAS - Frenchtown was awoken Thursday by an early morning fire at an area grocery store.

The V.I. Fire Service responded to a fire at the Frenchtown Grocery at 5:16 a.m., according to Daryl George, assistant director of the Fire Service.

No one was in the building at the time, and no one was injured during the fire, George said.

Black smoke billowed out of the windows of the grocery store, which is across the street from Betsy's Bar.

When firefighters from Hotel Company arrived on the scene, they found that flames and smoke had engulfed the building and called for backup from Tango, Lima and Echo companies.

In all, 12 firefighters were on the scene, and they were forced to drill holes in the roof to allow the heated gases and smoke from the fire out of the building so they could extinguish the blaze.

Putting out the fire took about a half-hour, George said, after which the crew salvaged what it could from the building and mopped up the scene.

The owners of the grocery store arrived during the response, George said, though they were unable to enter the building after the incident because the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fire Service conducted multiple interviews with witnesses as part of the investigation, but is not yet known how long the fire was burning, according to George.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email

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