Keene Valley Grocery Store destroyed by fire

KEENE VALLEY, N.Y. (WCAX) "It's just a family-friendly kind of place you go," said Valarie Warner of Keene Valley.

For 49 years, the Keene Valley Grocery Store has been a staple in town.

"They're great people to talk to. You know, you're walking down the street, you go in, you say hi and you walk back out, you know? They're terrific people," Warner said.

Which is why it's so hard to walk down the street now and see the store after a fire there Sunday.

"It was just billowing smoke, billowing smoke and just kept coming and coming, and they'd get it down a little but then it would come up," Warner said.

According to the Keene Valley fire chief, crews arrived within minutes Sunday afternoon. Flames were coming out the back of the building and through the back of the metal roof. The store was closed, so no one was inside. Fire officials call it a total loss.

"Finally the roof caved in," Warner said.

Bruce Reed, who owns the store with his wife, Carol, said they couldn't believe it when they got that call.

"Gosh, you try not to think about stuff like that because it rarely happens, you know, but I really feel so sorry for Carol and her family today. It's got to be a sad, sad day," Warner said.

The nearest grocery stores are 20 minutes away.

"It's just a huge loss for the community-- huge," said Bunny Goodwin of Keene.

"Oh, my gosh, that store was the hub. Like was the town center, you know, of our community," Warner said.

But the community has stepped up. Because this store has always been there for them and now they are here to help with the cleanup.

"That's the way this community is, you know, we just all rally behind each other and try to make it better for the person who's going through the rough time," Warner said.

The family said after cleanup and the investigation is over, they will look into the possibility of reopening.