A five-alarm fire early Monday morning destroyed a Townsend market and garden center.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office remained mum on the possible cause of the blaze but disclosed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division is assisting in the investigation.
The presence of the ATF can mean that investigators have not pinpointeda cause or have reason to suspect causes that are not accidental.
The blaze, reported shortly after 2 a.m., occurred at Willey Farms located at 4092 DuPont Parkway.
The Townsend Fire Company arrived on the scene with flames shooting from the building in southern New Castle County, north of Smyrna.
State fire investigators are on the scene searching for the blaze’s cause.
No damage estimate was immediately available for the complex that was a popular destination for shoppers seeking fresh produce, plants and at this time of year holiday decorations.
The business posted the following on its Facebookpage.
“We’re all safe. The firefighters tried to save her. They worked real hard. But Willey Farms is gone. From the Deli thru to the greenhouse. Produce, Natural Foods, Home Accents. She’s all gone. We don’t know where to start really. Kind of numb right now. It will be lots of hard, heartbreaking work. But she will be built again. We do know that”
News about the blaze spread quickly. In addition to media coverage, Willey Farms’ post on the fire was shared more than 6,000 times.