Fire destroys Keene Valley grocery store

Firefighters battle the blaze at the Valley Grocery store in Keene Valley Sunday afternoon. (Photo provided — Martha Allen)

Keene Valley fire Chief Rusty Hall said the Valley Grocery store in Keene Valley was a total loss Sunday after flames consumed the business.

The fire burned from about 2:30 p.m. to just a little past 7 p.m. Hall said at this point they’re are not sure how it started. He said there were no injuries.

Multiple fire departments — including from Keene, Jay, Upper Jay, Wilmington, Lake Placid, AuSable Forks and Elizabethtown — aided in dowsing the flames.

Hall said there were a couple of areas in the ceiling that were difficult to reach with fire hoses until the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department arrived with its aerial ladder truck.

Valley Grocery was the only grocery store in the 1,000-person town of Keene. Without it, locals can get some items at Stewart’s Shop in the hamlet of Keene but otherwise will have to travel to the nearest supermarkets in Elizabethtown or Lake Placid.

The business has been run by the Hall family since 1969, when Richard and Joan Hall bought it. Since Richard’s death in 2014, his daughter Carol Reed has owned the business. The Hall family has long been involved with the fire department. Richard Hall was fire chief for 27 years and helped organize the department’s first ambulance squad.

“The loss of such a community icon is devastating,” the Keene Valley Hose and Ladder Company No. 1 posted on its Facebook page. “The Valley Grocery does so much for our organization and we wish there was more we could have done.”