SOUTHINGTON - A large fire that ripped through a local grocery store that has been in town since 1951 started in the rear of the building, in the area where pizza ovens were used, according to fire officials.
The cause of the fire is still undetermined and under investigation. The blaze was reported Sunday, at about 7:30 p.m., at Tops Marketplace, located at 887 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. Customers and employees were in the store when the blaze broke out, but they were all able to make it out safely before firefighters arrived.
No injuries were reported.
The fire took nearly five hours to get under control. A snowstorm that dropped nearly a foot of snow made things even more complicated. The flames had already started to consume the back of the building and the roof when firefighters arrived. The roof collapsed within half an hour of the blaze starting, making the materials buried underneath very difficult to get to.
The fire spread very quickly because of a lot of the materials used to package food, according to firefighters. Some renovations over the years have left void spaces, which also help feed fires.
The building is a complete loss, but the owner said he does plan to rebuild. The market was a beloved, family-owned store that has been in Southington since 1951.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.