Up In Flames

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By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, May 11, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

HAMPTON -- A rack of soot-damaged clothing, shattered windows, heat-warped gutters, yellow fire tape and a mannequin on the pavement.

Together they bore silent witness to a two-alarm fire which occurred in the early morning hours of May 8, causing significant damage to a retail clothing store in downtown Hampton.

Owned by James Zegouros, the building housed the Walk In Closet, a consignment shop owned and operated by Greta St. Germain.

According to a report released Tuesday afternoon by Fire Prevention Officer Jon True, Hampton Fire/ Rescue received a call at 3:38 a.m. for a structure fire at 421 Lafayette Road.

Upon their arrival two minutes after receiving the first report, fire personnel encountered fire and smoke on the first floor of the building. By then the blaze had reportedly already spread into the attic area.

True's report noted that "fire crews worked quickly and aggressively to open the ceiling, exposing and extinguishing the fire in the attic area."

The fire was reportedly brought under control 40 minutes after the initial call was received.

Hampton fire department personnel were assisted by crews from Exeter, North Hampton, Seabrook, Portsmouth, Rye, Hampton Falls, Amesbury and Newburyport.

Significant damage was sustained to the building, including the walls and the roof, and there was a noticeable loss of shop inventory. There were no reported injuries.

Although the cause of the fire was still under investigation by the Hampton Bureau of Fire Prevention as of press time, True indicated on Tuesday morning at the scene that the fire was "not suspicious" in nature.

Fire Ruled Not Suspicious

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, May 15, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Last week's fire that destroyed a consignment shop, the Walk in Closet, does not appear to be suspicious, according to Fire Inspector Jonathan True.

"It appears to be accidental," True said. "We are still awaiting on forensics testing to determine the actual cause."

The popular store at 421 Lafayette Road in downtown Hampton was owned by Greta St. Germain.

While St. Germain didn't own the building, she had owned the shop for the last 10 years. St. Germain said she plans to reopen her business in another location in Hampton.

"I'm going to do whatever I can to rebuild and duplicate what I had in Hampton," St. Germain said. "I have some great shoppers and love the people I do business with. Ladies, don't give up on me. I may be down but I'm not out."

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