CROWN POINT — The fire that destroyed Frenchy’s Ice Cream Parlor over the weekend started in a trash receptacle in the eatery’s pizza kitchen, according to fire investigators.
It looked like the blaze began accidentally, Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said.
“The fire was in the garbage can, definitely,” he said Monday. “It started there.”
The Essex County Fire Investigation Unit had two investigators at the site.
Materials in the can could have been smoldering, Jaquish said.
Although they haven’t established that as the cause, olive-oil-soaked paper towels were in the trash can, Jaquish said, and when an organic solvent or oil comes in direct contact with natural cotton or paper fibers, the phenomenon known as spontaneous combustion can occur.
The snack bar closed at 7 p.m. Friday. The fire broke out three and a half hours later, at about 10:30 p.m., and rekindled just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
The blaze destroyed the building, which also housed two apartments.
CALL FROM TENANTS
Frenchy’s owner Ronald Ryan said Monday he wasn’t home when the fire started.
“We had left 45 minutes before the fire,” he told the Press-Republican. “We went to Ti. My tenants called me while we were there and said, ‘Frenchy’s is on fire.’
“I got there immediately. Smoke was coming from my exhaust vents.”
Ryan, his wife, Diane, and daughter, Heather, a junior at Crown Point Central School, lived in the downstairs apartment.
The upstairs unit was occupied by Karen Talbott and her two sons, who got out safely.
She is getting assistance from the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York.
Mr. Ryan said friends offered him use of a house on Sugar Hill Road in Crown Point, and they’re staying there now.