Cause of VFW fire still unknown

Front Royal police and the Warren County fire marshal’s office are continuing to investigate a fire that destroyed VFW Post 1860 at 1847 N. Royal Ave. early Saturday afternoon.

Front Royal police Sgt. Crystal Cline said Thursday that the cause of the fire is unknown, but authorities have not ruled out arson.

Meanwhile, Front Royal Police Chief Norman Shiflett said in a written statement that his agency is investigating a burglary at the VFW on the evening of July 3, eight days before the fire. Shiflett said one or more unknown intruders entered the building, pried open several gaming machines and took an undisclosed amount of money from each of them.

Cline said police have no evidence so far to connect the fire and the burglary.

“We’re not ruling that out, but at this point we have nothing to connect the two incidents,” Cline said.

She added there have been “lots of rumors” about the fire but the investigation has yet to determine a cause.

Warren County firefighters were sent to the VFW post at about 12:45 p.m. after someone reported a trash can fire at the site. The west side of the structure was already enveloped by heavy smoke by the time firefighters reached the scene.

Two people inside the building escaped unharmed but two firefighters were injured fighting the blaze.

Anyone with information about the burglary or the fire is asked to call Front Royal Detective David Fogle or Detective Zach King at 636-2208.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com