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Kingston man charged with arson, burglary in Kingston market blaze

Union Leader Correspondent

January 19. 2018 8:59PM
Firefighters responded to the Carriage Towne Plaza in Kingston after a fire broke out early Wednesday morning. (Kingston Fire Department)

KINGSTON - A Kingston man was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with a fire that broke out early Wednesday morning inside Carriage Towne Market.

John Gates, 44, faces felony arson and burglary charges and is being held at the Rockingham County jail on $50,000 cash bail, the state fire marshal’s office said.

Authorities said more charges are expected.

The fire began around 3:30 a.m. in the market located at the Carriage Towne Plaza on Church Street.

Fire Chief Bill Seaman said firefighters found a hole cut into the wall between Asian Gourmet, which is currently vacant, and the Carriage Towne Market where the fire was discovered.

Police and fire officials immediately characterized the blaze as suspicious.

Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said the first officers to arrive at the scene saw flames showing and quickly recovered evidence that he believed would be crucial as the fire marshal’s office took the lead in the investigation.

“The officers on scene prior to anyone arriving did a fantastic job securing any and all evidence,” Briggs said at the scene.

He said it appears entry was made through the rear of the building.

The fire caused significant smoke and heat damage to Carriage Towne Market, which is expected to be closed for at least a few weeks.

Smoke spread to other businesses and the Kingston Post Office as well, and forced them to close temporarily on the day of the fire.

Fundraising efforts are also underway to help Carriage Towne Market owner Devendra Patel as he tries to recover.

A GoFundMe page called “Help for Dev Patel” was created to raise money to defray some of the costs that won’t be covered by insurance, including his insurance deductible.

“Dev is known by many in town as the quiet and friendly man who works tirelessly at the market. He is very touched by the support of his Kingston neighbors,” fund creator Laura Thibault wrote.

The fund had raised $420 by Friday evening.

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