EUBANK — Arson has been confirmed as the cause of an early morning fire on Saturday that nearly gutted a venerable Eubank business.

Eubank Police Chief Rodney Sneed said yesterday investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Somerset Fire Investigations determined someone set the fire at Sandidge’s Store, a 55-year-old business which stands at the corner of Ky. 1247 and Ky. 70.

A Kentucky State Police trooper responding to a church burglary in Lincoln County spotted the fire at around 2 a.m..

“The suspects will be charged with first-degree burglary, arson and theft by unlawful taking over $300,” Sneed said. “We know some cigarettes and ammunition were stolen during the robbery. And we know there were fires set in several different locations in the building ... they meant to burn it down.

“There might have been some other merchandise taken ... we’re still investigating,” Sneed added.

Sneed pointed out the blaze could’ve easily evolved into “a disaster.”

“There were some dangerous chemicals in that building,” Sneed said. “They had kerosene, paint thinners and paint, fertilizers and feed, and ammunition. We could’ve had a big problem.”

Numerous agencies responded to the scene, including fire departments from Eubank, Woodstock, Waynesburg and Parker’s Mill, the Kentucky State Police, State Emergency Management personnel, County Safety personnel, the State Fire Marshal, Somerset Fire Investigations, the EPA, the Somerset-Pulaski County Rescue Squad and the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team.

“The fire departments did an incredible job containing the fire ... it took 80,000 gallons of water to extinguish it,” Sneed said. “I think this is an indication of the type of trained emergency services personnel we have in this county.”

Sneed said, thus far, there have been no connection made with the store fire and church recent church break-ins at the Eubank Church of Christ and the Polly Ann Church in Lincoln County.

“The burglary at Eubank Church of Christ could’ve happened any time between Wednesday night and Saturday — we don’t have a real firm timeline,” Sneed said. “We think the Polly Ann Church was hit on Saturday morning, because that’s where the trooper who spotted the fire was headed — they had received a call that people were seen leaving the church and he was going to check it out.”

Sneed said anyone with information on the Sandidge Store fire should call the Eubank Police Department at 379-5348 or 305-1851, or the Kentucky State Police at 875-6622.

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