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A fire that destroyed a food pantry storage building that supplies two soup kitchens and 20 area food pantries started accidentally, fire officials believe.

The building on North Main Street is owned by Cattaraugus Community Action. The fire was reported at 4:29 a.m. Saturday.

Fire officials estimated the loss at $300,000. An attached garage occupied by Talbot Racing sustained minimal damage. An investigation was continuing.

Tina Zerbian, chief executive for the nonprofit anti-poverty agency, said that, in addition to the food, the fire destroyed a van used by the agency's winterization program. About a dozen homes a month are insulated through the program.

Zerbian said the agency recently performed a fiscal inventory and has insurance for the loss, less deductibles.

The immediate impact will be felt by families who daily rely on food pantries, Zerbian said.

A location is being sought for a new warehouse, she added.

Zerbian said that anyone interested in making a donation should call her at 945-1041, Ext. 111.

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