Cumberland Farms gas station closed after unexplained fire

At 3 a.m. on Sunday, the Williamstown Fire Department (WFD) responded to a call about a fire at the Route 2 Cumberland Farms gas station. Although no one was injured in the fire, the establishment suffered severe damage and has been closed indefinitely. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

According WFD’s official press release, the clerk on duty was serving a customer when he realized that a rack of potato chips was on fire in the back of the store. He sent the customer outside and grabbed the phone before running outside as well to call 9-1-1. Both the clerk and the customer escaped without injury.

Williamstown firefighters, along with departments from Pownal, Vt. and Clarksburg, fought against the fire by first ventilating the roof and then entering the smoky building to try to extinguish the fire. Chief Pedercini of the WFD said that gas pumps “never even began to be compromised.”

The cause of the fire remains unknown, and the State Fire Marshall is helping with the investigation. The Cumberland Farms gas station will be closed indefinitely due to severe smoke and fire damage.

Students reacted with sympathy to the news of the fire. “I’ve had my fair share of visits there in the wee hours of the morning,” said Siwol Change ’12. “Usually after a late-night at Schow or Sawyer, me and some buddies would always go down to Cumby’s for snacks of some sort.”

Although Amanda Alps ’09, who often got gas at Cumberland, does not foresee much difficulty in filling up in the future, she was still upset about the fire. “I did like that [gas station],” she said. “Whenever I was there I’d see a lot of people.”

Campus Safety and Security officers, who often fueled vehicles at Cumberland, will also need an alternative station. “Officers working the midnight shift were able to get gas at Cumberland Farms because it was open 24 hours,” said Jean Thorndike, director of Security.

“Officers working first and second shifts will now have to make sure the cruisers are filled before the midnight shift begins,” she added. “Officers have a couple of places where they can buy gas in Williamstown so it’s not a major inconvenience. It’s just a matter of planning and teamwork.”

Additional reporting by Hanna Saltzman, news editor.

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