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Fire guts house on Main Street Marshall

Monday, Mar. 18 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Firefighters extinguish a vacant house next to Glascock Grocery & Middle Eastern Deli in Marshall. - Photo by Mark Grandstaff
MARSHALL - A Monday morning fire gutted a house used as storage by a next-door grocery and deli.

Fauquier's 9-1-1 dispatchers put out the call for the fire at 2:12 a.m., said Marshall Fire Chief Eddie Payne.

Payne, the first on the scene, said he saw flames pouring out of the front of the building.

While firefighters from three counties poured water into the blaze, owner Joe Sarsour watched in helpless anger as the fire claimed the building he once hoped to turn into a U-Haul site. Sarsour also owns Glascock Grocery & Deli next door to the burning house.

"As that fire still burns, my heart still burns," Sarsour said.

Sarsour said he'd worked in the grocery store next door since he was eight years old. Regulations and red tape prevented him from turning the house and the gravel lot next to it into a U-Haul site, he said. If he could have used the building, Sarsour said he would have it up to code with smoke detectors that might have saved the structure.

"We didn't do anything with it because it's hard to do anything in the northern end of the county," Sarsour said.

"Not one supervisor is out here tonight," Sarsour said. "Peter Schwartz doesn't care about the east side of Marshall."

The closest fire hydrant, about 400 feet away at the intersection of East Main Street and Winchester Road, went untouched by firefighters in their initial response. Trucks ferried water from a hydrant by the McDonald's farther south on Winchester Road.

"I'm not using that one because I'm not sure what we'd get out of it," Payne said of the closest hydrant.

Many of Marshall's fire hydrants cannot put out enough pressure to fight an active fire, Payne said. The hydrant by the McDonald's, he said, has proven more reliable.

Payne called for a Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority worker to come to Marshall and turn on extra pumps to boost the water pressure in the Marshall system. The WSA worker had to come from Fredericksburg, Va., Payne said.

"It really does not benefit us at all," Payne said. "It's too long a time. We need water right now."

Firefighters from Marshall, The Plains, Upperville, Warrenton, Orlean, New Baltimore, Middleburg, Aldie and Linden fire companies answered the call. The house had no occupants at the time of the blaze, Payne said.

The Fauquier County Sheriff's Office is investigating the cause of the fire because it wasn't immediately obvious what had started the blaze, Payne said.

Sarsour praised the firefighters for their fast response. While they worked, he brought them water and candy bars from his store.

"If it wasn't for the fire department, the store would have burned down too," Sarsour said. "Thank God we had these guys out here tonight."
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