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Fire consumes Bristol antique shop

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BRISTOL ASSISTANT FIRE Chief Peter Coffey, New Haven Chief Mike Dykstra and Bristol Chief Mark Bouvier take a much-needed break after battling an early morning fire at Beck’s Alley Antiques Shop in downtown Bristol last Friday.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell


November 5, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — The Beck’s Alley Antiques Shop on Main Street in Bristol burst into flames Friday morning. No one was hurt and firefighters quickly brought the fire under control, but damage to the building was heavy.

“It looks like there is an extensive amount of damage inside,” said Steve Leopold, co-owner of the building with his wife Bridget. He said they have lost most if not all of the antiques inside.

The blaze began around 7 a.m. Linda Smith, owner of the Village Corner Store across the street from the antiques shop, said that a regular customer first noticed flames and called her attention to it. She came out to look in time to see the windows blow out from the heat, and called 911. The Bristol and New Haven fire departments responded quickly and blocked off that section of Main Street for about three hours while they worked.

According to the Bristol Fire Department Assistant Chief Peter Coffey, the fire probably started on the west side of the building near the main door of the antiques shop. Neither the cause of the blaze nor the extent of the damage had been determined as the Addison Independent went to press. Bridget Leopold said that there was a propane gas heater next to that wall of the building.

Neither of the neighboring buildings was damaged.

The antique store in the front of the building was heavily damaged, but the Bristol Recreation Department’s clay studio in the back of the building is believed to be in better shape. Town administrator Bill Bryant said the studio probably only suffered water and smoke damage.

The Leopolds own the Beck’s Alley Antiques Shop business, but not the building. Bridget Leopold said that both the building and the business were insured. The Leopolds are awaiting the results of the investigation to find out what will happen to the business next.

“Everything is up in the air,” Steve Leopold said on Friday.

While the Leopolds watched firefighters complete cleanup at their store on Friday morning, friends came out of the woodwork with an outpouring of help. Half a dozen were keeping the Leopolds company Friday morning as the fire department was still sifting through the wreckage.

“I can’t say enough for everybody,” Steve Leopold said. “Everybody has been so wonderful.”

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