Fire damages building, boats near Bartlett Lake

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

RIO VERDE, Ariz. -- A fire at Bartlett Lake on the northeastern outskirts of the Phoenix area has destroyed a convenience store and two boats and damaged a third boat.

Rural-Metro Fire Department spokesman Colin Williams says the fire took place Thursday morning in a boat storage area located a short distance away from the lake itself.
Williams says there was no injury and that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating the fire to determine its cause.

"It was a little suspicious as to how it started," said fire investigator Det. Mark Ridley, who was sifting through the rubble Thursday. "We are investigating that right now to try and figure out exactly why it started."

While combing through the debris, firefighters recovered a scorched spoon with sentimental value for Sarah Church, who has run the convenience store for nearly 20 years.

"I feel very sad because this has been a part of my life for so many years," she said.

Her son, Bryan Church, owns Bartlett Lake Marina and said the fire came just days after monsoon flooding forced road closures around the lake.

"This week's been kind of tough," he said.

However, the marina still hosted 25 people with physical and neurological disabilities Thursday for a day of fun on the water. Barrow Neurological Institute frequently takes patients, including disabled veterans, on field trips to Bartlett Lake.

"It's a good way for people to get out of the city and kind of decompress," Bryan Church said.

He wants the public to know that the marina is still open for business.

"The whole marina's still operational here," he said. "We'll figure something out here over the next couple days to take care of the campers and things like that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report