LAKE PLACID - The cause of a fire that destroyed a building on Station Street here late last month will likely remain a mystery.
Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish told the Enterprise that he asked state fire investigators Tuesday what caused the blaze at 263 Station St., a building that was owned by Joe Moore and housed four businesses: Moore's Placid Boatworks boat shop, the Cake Placid bakery, Rick's Taxi and Griffith Energy.
"The conclusion is undetermined due to the fact that they could not physically get in and examine the heater and all of the other devices that were located within the rear of the building," Jaquish said.
The blaze was reported to the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department at approximately 12:39 a.m. Jan. 25. Nine area fire departments responded to the scene and fought the fire for close to 10 hours in subzero temperatures.
Officials said at the time that it would be difficult to determine what caused the fire because water had frozen in thick sheets throughout the interior and exterior of the building. Jaquish said Tuesday that ended up being the case.
"Apparently the building has become unsafe to go inside," he said. "It's still encased in ice. The insurance company came up and also looked at it and felt that unless they brought in heavy equipment, that the cause probably would never be known."
Jaquish did say that investigators and the insurance company are "very sure that it was accidental in nature."
Owners of the four businesses displaced by the fire have received a lot of support from the community. A fundraiser last Thursday at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery collected funds for Cake Placid owner Jennifer Gates, who hopes to relocate and reopen by April. The event also pulled in money for Moore and Rick's Taxi owner Dmitri Federov, although Moore has been encouraging people to donate to Federov, who must repair vehicles and replace radio equipment.