Cause of Fire that Destroyed Amherst County Store Still Undetermined
Amherst County, VA - Amherst County fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire that destroyed a business two days ago.
It happened around 2 a.m. Saturday on the 100 block of Faulconerville Road.
The building is hardly recognizable. Flames ripped through what used to be S'Amanda's store. The roof collapsed, leaving pieces of what used to be merchandise scattered all around.
Days later, fire investigators were back on the scene digging for answers.
"It's kind of devastating," Amanda De Coligny said, watching fire officials dig through pieces of merchandise she's collected for more than 30 years.
Up until Saturday morning, customers came to S'Amanda's for natural foods, fiber, clothing, jewelry and folk art.
"My whole life has been this store. It's been my family. It's been everything. And it's hard. It's hard,"Coligny said, fighting back tears.
The Amherst County Director of public safety says the massive fire started in the front of the store and took about two dozen firefighters two hours to get it under control.
Investigators still don't have a cause.
"We have several things that we want to rule out. So, we'll continue to dig through the debris," Gary Roakes said, standing behind the yellow tape.
Amanda De Coligny planned on passing the store down to her niece. A few years ago, however, she hit another setback: her niece died of breast cancer in 2005.
"So, there's a lot of her here that I'm gonna miss," Coligny explained.
This is Amherst County's third structure fire in just one week. Fire officials determined the cause of two others, off Old Wright Shop Road, were due to electrical malfunctions.
"It's very uncommon for Amherst County. We average about 20 to 25 structure fires per year," said Gary Roakes.
This latest fire was especially unusual in that it destroyed a brick building that had been around for nearly 100 years.
"I am a survivor and this phoenix will rise from the ashes," added Coligny.
The owner of the store says she had insurance, but doesn't know what will be covered.
Fire officials have gone through surveillance video at a nearby gas station. So far, though, there are no real clues as to what happened.