HINSDALE, N.H. -- No one was harmed in Tuesday night's two-alarm fire at the Hinsdale Convenience Store on Main Street, and the blaze is under investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Hinsdale Fire Chief Jay Matuszewski said the one apartment on the second floor, where the fire started, was uninhabited and the store suffered water damage. Matuszewski said Nafiz Alkhatib rents the store space from building owner Lewis Major.
Alkhatib said he has been renting from Major since 2005. He said he was in the store when the fire began at roughly 10:30 p.m. and immediately called 911. He mentioned the damage seemed relatively minor and easy to repair but said the store will be closed indefinitely. Alkhatib said he will talk to Major about reopening it.
Alkhatib is the brother of Mohammad "Mo" Alkhatib, the owner of Mo's Market. Located on Route 30 in Jamaica, Vt., Mo's Market was destroyed in a three-alarm fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Nafiz said he hasn't spoken to his brother in three or four years due to a falling-out over borrowed money but said he believes the two fires are merely a coincidence.
The fire in Jamaica was ruled not suspicious in nature. The cause of the fire in Hinsdale has yet to be determined.
The Hinsdale fire took a couple of hours to get under control because firefighters had to wait until Public Service of New Hampshire turned down the three-phase electric power. It left parts
Matuszewski said emergency responders nearly had the fire extinguished within the first 15 minutes but the flames crawled across the top of the building to a spot the crews could not get to because of the wires.
"That hindered our operations dramatically and that's why we have so much burnt in the front," he said, while standing outside the partially charred building, which was surrounded by yellow caution tape and still smelled of smoke and ash early Wednesday afternoon.
The fire chief said firefighters from Hinsdale, Winchester and Chesterfield, Brattleboro, Vt., and Northfield, Mass., responded to the scene.
"It's our standard second-alarm assignment," Matuszewski said, adding how grateful he is for Fire Mutual Aid. "The guys did a great job. One town can't do it all. We've got 30 guys and out of the 30 guys I think there were 20-something that showed. We had a good turnout."
After speaking with Matuszewski in front of the building on Wednesday, Major said he heard about the fire over a police scanner Tuesday night, went to the scene and didn't leave until roughly 2 a.m. He said he has owned the building for about 10 years.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.