Deputies: Fire at historic building in Palmyra suspicious

Posted at: 05/17/2013 10:31 AM | Updated at: 05/17/2013 5:25 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion |

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News10NBC has learned that investigators have a lead on who might have set a massive fire in Palmyra that destroyed six businesses and 15 apartments.

The fire happened two weeks on the third floor of a large building on East Main Street. A fire department captain says it was the worst fire he's seen a decade. The good news is everyone managed to get out safely.

Investigators aren't willing to go into a lot of detail, but they are calling this fire “suspicious”. They say they do have a person of interest and they do believe that person intentionally started the fire. It's something the Palmyra community was not expecting to hear.

The area is still blocked off and businesses are still shut down. For Palmyra residents, it is a tragic daily reminder.

Bill Osborn said, “I hate to see these communities here that are basically historic canal streets, towns and stuff. I hate to see that stuff happen in this area.”
Investigators say they now believe the fire was not a mistake. News the community was dreading.

Osborn said, “It is a shame. However, if it is arson, I hope they get to the bottom of it.”

The news is even more devastating for the victims.

Joanne Lee, Goldy's Goodies owner, said, “Extremely disappointed, angry and speechless.”

Joanne Lee lost her store in the fire. She was forced to move her business and start over.

Lee said, “Heartbroken. The only word, heartbroken. A lot of work and dedication went into it and it was all gone in an instant.”

On the heels of the shocking news, Lee celebrated her grand opening Friday. The store is right across the street from the rubble. Even though someone may have started the fire, she says it won't take away from how close the neighborhood has become.

Lee said, “The community has been wonderful and supportive and we couldn't ask for anything better. We've relocated. I'm just hoping that everybody else has found their new homes and are getting along okay. Just wishing for the best for everyone else.”

The person of interest has not been charged yet. The sheriff's office is still investigating. They say it's just going to be a matter of time.

The American Legion is making a final push for donations for the families and businesses affected by the fire. They will be collecting items and monetary donations at the Wayne County Fairgrounds 4-H Building on Saturday from 9:00a.m. To 12:00p.m. And Sunday from 1:00p.m. To 4:00p.m.  

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