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Sebastopol mourns loss of historic store

  • Frizelle Enos Feeds employee Debbi Logan, left, gets a hug from friend Linda Trent after surveying the fire damage of the building in Sebastopol, California on Sunday, July 14, 2013. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

The cause of the fire that destroyed Sebastopol's Frizelle Enos Feeds remained a mystery Sunday, and many heartsick customers were waiting to learn what the future holds for the landmark west Sonoma County business.

"I'm hoping they'll rebuild, and they'll do it as quickly as possible," said Mayor Michael Kyes, whose view was echoed by many former customers. The feed store, where Kyes said he regularly shops, was "sort of iconic of Sebastopol."

On Saturday evening, fire ripped through the building, an anchor on the eastern edge of downtown for 80 years.

Frizelle Enos Fire in Sebastopol

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The blaze apparently started in hay bales in the back, fire officials said. The cause remains under investigation, but the most likely possibility was the fire had a human origin, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Reeser.

On Sunday morning, both the building and business owners surveyed the wreckage, Reeser said.

The building owner, Tennyson Tucker, later said that contractors had told him the entire structure must be leveled before anything can be rebuilt there. He said he might be willing to rebuild, but he first needs to learn what value his insurance company will put on the damaged building.

"I think everybody in Sebastopol and the customers would like to see it rebuilt," Tucker said. "Hopefully, the building department will work with us so we don't get delayed."

Tucker had long owned the business, the longest-running in Sebastopol, until he sold it to a business partnership nearly three years ago. The partners all declined comment Saturday at the fire and have yet to publicly state their intentions.

But Reeser said the partners told him Sunday they would like to find a temporary site and quickly reopen for business, possibly nearby on Petaluma Avenue at the proposed location for a CVS store.

That idea was welcomed by customer Sarah Flood Davis, a Sebastopol resident who first went to the store at age 4 and as an adult has taken her two children shopping there.


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