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This two-alarm fire at the Tri-County Community Action Program building closed Main Street Wednesday night. (Dave Fuller)

UPDATED: Heaters looked at in Lancaster Tri-County fire

LANCASTER - A two-alarm fire at the Tri-County Community Action Program building closed Main Street Wednesday night.

A dispatcher at the Coos County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the fire was at the Tri-County CAP building at 79 Main St.

She said all available police and fire personnel were at the scene of the fire, which was reported shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday.

State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan said in a release Thursday afternoon that three residents were home in a second-floor apartment at the time of the fire and escaped without injury.

Dave Fuller of the Rialto Theater said by 9:30 p.m., the fire was nearly contained.

"It's across the street from the theater," he said.

In addition to the Tri-County Cap building, Fuller said a thrift store and apartments on the second and third floor of the building were involved, as was an empty storefront.

Degnan said the cause is still under investigation, but a preliminary investigation has led him to look further at the electrical wiring associated with electric baseboard heating in the building.

In June 1996, a blaze destroyed four Main Street businesses, including the Lancaster Diner and Lancaster Fruit and Deli. Eighteen months later, the owner of one of the destroyed buildings was charged with two counts of arson. After an unprecedented four trials, he was found innocent in 1999. The diner has never been rebuilt and the lot remains empty.


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