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Cause of Warrenton store fire can't be determined

Warrenton officials lifted a mandatory evacuation order Thursday evening for more than two dozen businesses and more than 100 residents after a fire that destroyed a farm supply store Wednesday.

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WARRENTON, N.C. — Investigators aren't able to determine what caused a fire last week that destroyed a two-block-long farm supply store in downtown Warrenton.

Mayor Walter Gardner said Wednesday that the Southern States Farm & Garden store was so badly burned that agents with the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms haven't been able to figure out what caused the Feb. 2 fire.

Investigators said immediately after the fire that they didn't suspect foul play and that the fire started in the rear of the store after closing.

For more than a day after the fire, dozens of homes and 25 businesses within a three-block radius were evacuated because of air quality concerns.

Southern States was one of the town's oldest businesses and largest employers. It was housed in the town's oldest surviving warehouse.


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