Fire Destoys Lyndonville, Vermont Agway

LYNDON, Vt. (AP) -- An early morning fire Monday destroyed the Agway building on Memorial Drive.

Firefighters from Lyndonville, East Burke and St. Johnsbury trained their hoses on the blaze that lit up the night as snow fell. Thick clouds of heavy smoke filled the sky as firefighters attacked the blaze from several sides.

Small explosions could be heard as water was poured onto the Agway building, which is owned by incoming state Rep. Dick Lawrence of Lyndon.

Lyndonville Fire Chief Greg Hopkins said the department was notified at 3 a.m. after a passer-by noticed the building was on fire.

When his department arrived, the rear portion of the structure was engulfed in flames.

Hopkins said the fire is under investigation by his department and a state police investigator.

Lawrence was called at 3 a.m. and told his building was on fire.

``When we got there, the north end of the building was in flames,'' Lawrence said. ``Three-quarters of the building was not on fire when we got there.''

The store had been closed since 5 p.m. Friday.

``This is the only two-day weekend we have ever taken,'' Lawrence said. ``But it wouldn't have made any difference anyway.''

Lawrence said there was little in the portion of the building that caught fire.

``It started in the further end of the warehouse, but not near electrical outlets,'' he said, noting there was hay and straw stored on the outside of the building.

``Everything is completely gone,'' Lawrence said. ``It's just heart-wrenching.''

Lawrence has owned the business since 1991 and had purchased the building in 1993. He does not know whether he will rebuild.

``We have a lot of things to take care of before we get to that point,'' he said.

There was about $200,000 worth of inventory in the building, only a portion of which was insured, he said. There also was insurance on the building.

Hopkins said about 50 firefighters responded to the scene.

No one was injured.