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Fire marshal investigates fire that razed Newbury store

NEWBURY — Fire Chief Henry Thomas and an investigator from the state Fire Marshal's Office paced back and forth Monday morning along the remains of a porch at the front of what had been a local furniture and indoor decorations store.

The men were then joined by two other men, one of whom was identified as a manager at Contessa and the Cowboy, a store that had been run out of the two-story, 1,400-square-foot store building at 2 West Province Road until the building was destroyed by fire Saturday night.

The man said to be the store manager would not speak about the fire, as he was giving information to fire investigators.

"We're doing a lot of work right now," he said.

The store's "mission," according to its website, was to "provide brand name furniture, antiques, accessories and fabulous findings at low prices. We re-upholster your vintage furniture with over 7,000 fabrics to choose from. Interior design services that fit all levels of style and budgets. Located at Lake Sunapee, N.H."

The last person left the store at 3 p.m. Saturday. A three-alarm fire broke out at the store just before 10 p.m. It burned until almost 6 a.m., Thomas said.

Thomas said he hasn't found the cause of the fire yet. The building, built in 1890 and valued in 2012 at $171,000, according to town records, is a total loss.

"It's pretty much gone inside," he said.

Thomas, one of the first firefighters to the scene, said flames had consumed much of the building by the time he arrived. The fire was reported by an employee of a restaurant across the street, Thomas said.

"When I got here, the fire was curling right up under this porch floor, but the inside was fully involved," he said.

The owner of the building could not be reached for comment Monday.

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