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Blaze shuts down Walden strip mall

A three alarm fire last Thursday drew roughly 100 volunteer firefighters from their homes in an effort to save Kids Closet and a number of other businesses located in a small strip mall on State Route 208 in Walden.

The Walden Fire Department received word of the fire shortly before 1 a.m. and arrived three minutes later to find heavy smoke pouring from Kid’s Closet, a consignment boutique for children’s items, such as clothes, furniture and toys, located at 2294 State Route 208.

Walden Fire Chief Jody Doherty stated the fire started in the rear of the building and, by the time they arrived, had spread through the roof to an attached upper apartment where thankfully, nobody was home.

Thirty members of the Walden Fire Department battled the blaze, together with responders from Coldenham, Maybrook, Montgomery, Orange Lake, Pine Bush and Winona Lake, with Plattekill on standby. The fire was under control by about 1:30 a.m. and the firefighters had left the scene by 5 a.m.

“The guys did a great job,” said Chief Doherty. “They fought it aggressively.”

The only injury sustained as a result of the fire was a laceration to an assistant chief, which was treated by the crew of an ambulance on scene and did not require further medical attention.

The structure itself did not fare as well, as extensive water and smoke damage has closed the remaining stores in the strip mall and Kid’s Closet’s store and inventory was completely destroyed by the fire. Several windows were also broken for ventilation.

As of Monday, all of the stores remained closed.

“I’ll be working from home until I can get another place,” said Christine Raymond of Scally Insurance, one of the businesses located in the building.

Raymond was loading her car on Memorial Day with what she could salvage from her office, noting that none of her computers worked. Her neighbors are also dealing with smoke and water damage, and have been told they cannot reopen their businesses in the building until further notice. They are now searching for new storefronts, either temporarily or on a more permanent basis.

Scally Insurance is still conducting business and questions can be directed to Christine Raymond at 778-2588, or at: Christine@scallyinsurance.com.

Dr. Scott Morrison’s office was also closed, however they can be reached at their New Paltz office: 255-4696.

EBS Tax and Accounting can be reached at 914-494-9195 (Patricia), or at 845-857-3927 (Wendy).

Sherri’s Hair Design has temporarily relocated to 892 Route 17K in Montgomery and can be reached at: 778-9003.

“Nobody has any idea at this point,” Raymond said of when the strip mall might be restored and reopened. “I think it’s going to be a while and I need to be able to get up and running. We’ll have to see what happens along the way.”

Town of Montgomery Police Chief Butch Amthor said Tuesday that it has been determined that the fire is “definitely suspicious” and the department has taken over the investigation from the Orange County Fire Investigators. Amthor said he has requested the assistance of the New York State Police and they will be conducting a joint investigation.

By RACHEL COLEMAN
rcoleman@tcnewspapers.com

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