Price Chopper Blaze Started by Fireworks

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- A 10-foot-wide section of the grocery aisle of a Price Chopper in the Tri-City Plaza in Vernon, Conn. went up in flames yesterday, apparently after fireworks were set off in the store, according to published reports.

The Fourth of July fire, in which no one was injured, began around 6 p.m. while shoppers were in the store. Associates quickly responded with fire extinguishers. Price Chopper's spokeswoman Mona Golub told the Hartford Courant that the damage was less than $25,000.

The store was closed overnight while associates from other Price Choppers in the region fixed up the store and delivered new food, including produce to replace items in the section contaminated by the chemicals in the fire extinguishers. The store reopened today at 7:20 a.m.

Unlit fireworks were discovered on other shelves around the store, which investigators believe were placed with the intention to set them off. Although the fireworks used to set the fire are legal in Connecticut, Golub says that the store doesn't sell them. Police are checking the store's surveillance tapes, and the fire marshal's office is looking into the matter.

The store, which opened a year and a half ago, is one of 115 Golub Corp.-owned Price Chopper locations in New England, Pennsylvania and New York.
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