By Wayne Laepple

The Daily Item

TURBOTVILLE — A good neighbor saved Clark's Ag Center from possible destruction by an arson fire Wednesday night.

Owner Ken Clark said Friday that someone put a bale of straw under a wooden frame at the rear of the store along Route 54 and lit it around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A man waiting for his wife to get off work at the Great Value grocery across the street saw the smoke billowing into the air and drove over to investigate. He had a fire extinguisher in his vehicle, which he discharged on the flames. Then he grabbed a nearby garden hose and finished extinguishing the blaze.

"He said the flames were already up to the roof when he got back here," said Mr. Clark. "He was a volunteer fireman, so he knew what to do."

"We're very lucky," he continued. "There's minimal damage. It barely charred the building."

The wooden frame, designed to hold fence posts, was under a lean-to at the rear of the building, and the only visible damage was charring on the frame itself. The remains of the straw bale had been removed.

"Whoever did it definitely wanted to cause damage," said Mr. Clark.

A state police fire marshal was called to the scene Wednesday night, Mr. Clark said, but he hadn't released a report by Friday.

Mr. Clark said he estimated the damage under $100.

Asked if he had any idea who might have started the fire, he shook his head.

"They asked all those questions Wednesday night, whether it might have been a disgruntled employee or an angry customer," he said. "I have no idea who might have done it."

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