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Millworks fire a familiar scene for owners

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MASSENA — A fire that broke out around 7:45 a.m. Saturday at 128 County Route 37 was déjà vu for North Country Millworks owners Creig L. and Barbara Donnelly, whose entire cabinetry and moldings business went ablaze in December 2010 after fumes in the “paint booth” combusted.

Although Saturday’s fire was contained to the paint room of the small business and didn’t do as much damage as the one three years ago, the fires shared the same cause.

Massena Fire Chief Tom C. Miller said Saturday’s fire was “caused by a spontaneous combustion caused by fumes in the paint room.”

Although neither fire caused any injuries, the first one was a total loss for the Donnelly’s.

Mr. Miller said that is because the first business location was one big open space, with a paint booth instead of a closed off room.

“This time the paint room was closed off by doors and was separated from the rest of the space,” he said.

After they lost everything in 2010, the Donnelly’s battled with their insurance providers.

As members of the Cabinet Members Association, news of the Donnelly’s loss was sent out in the association’s newsletter.

Matt Sbitani, another member of the association who lives in Virginia, donated equipment from one of his previous workshops, becoming a key player in getting the Donnelly’s business back up and running.

Mr. Miller said Louisville, Norfolk and Helena fire departments also responded to the Saturday morning call.

“It was a relatively quick knockdown,” Massena Fire Chief Tom C. Miller said. “We had 36 guys from Massena out there and they just did a really great job.”

Efforts to reach Mr. or Mrs. Donnelly Saturday were unsuccessful.

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