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Accidental fire causes damage to pharmacy
Authorities say electrical short started blaze at Rite Aid
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Gainesville firefighters work at the scene of a fire this morning at Rite Aid Pharmacy on South Enota Drive.

Authorities believe an electrical short started a Thursday morning fire that caused at least $100,000 in damage to the Rite Aid Pharmacy on South Enota Drive in Gainesville.

The short took place in a condensation pump on top of a drink cooler in the store, Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada said.

"From there, the fire spread upward on the wall and across the ceiling," he said.

Damage to the building is estimated at $100,000.

As for the store's contents, the costs could be "several hundred thousand dollars just because (Rite Aid) will have to discard so much merchandise that was damaged by the smoke," Canada said.

Prescriptions "weren't involved in the fire, but they were damaged by smoke," he said. "State officials were on scene to assess damage on those and to test those out."

Store officials at the scene declined comment.

No one was injured in the incident, which began about 10:50 a.m. when employees notified authorities, reporting that "flames were visible in the store," Canada said.

Fire officials told employees to evacuate the store.

When firefighters arrived, they quickly put out the fire, then worked until about 12:30 p.m. clearing the store of heavy black smoke.

At one point, smoke was billowing out of the front entrance. Firefighters opened a hatch on the roof and used a fan to help get rid of the smoke, Canada said.

 

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