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Store loses appliances in fire

A fire early Friday morning gutted an appliance store warehouse and destroyed more than $100,000 worth of merchandise.

The showroom at Harbour Appliance & TV, 8010 Grand Blvd., was undamaged and open for business, said store owner Claude Ward. "I don't see any reason why we can't be open," he said. "We're going to do our very best to do that. We have inventory to draw on from our stores in Spring Hill and Brooksville."

But he worried about the store's ability to make all its deliveries. "We're very concerned about deliveries we have commitments on already," he said. "I'm hoping that there's none that we won't be able to fulfill."

The store's entire stock of television sets was destroyed, Ward said. Much of the appliance inventory was damaged by smoke and soot. A survey to determine the extent of the damage was continuing Friday afternoon, he said.

The store and the damaged merchandise were insured, Ward said.

The fire apparently started at a garbage bin near the southeast side of the building, according to a report from the Port Richey Fire Department. It started among cardboard boxes.

Firefighters were first called to the scene at 1:16 a.m. and arrived two minutes later. The blaze was brought under control by about 2:30 a.m.

Total damage is estimated at $250,000, the report states. The fire is considered suspicious and the state fire marshal will investigate.

Ward said he had no idea how or why the fire started. "I wish I did," he said. "I wish I could make some sense of it."