Fire Marshal: Winery fire at historic farm is ruled an arson

A $5,000 state reward is offered for information on fire

In this Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015 photo, a fire burns at the Obadiah McIntyre Farm Winery part of the Charlton Orchards Farm in Charlton, Mass. Fire investigators on Monday sifted through the rubble of the farm winery after a massive blaze destroyed it and about 4,000 gallons of wine. (Gerard F. Russell/Worcester Telegram & Gazette via AP)

CHARLTON, Mass. (AP) — A Sunday night fire that destroyed a historic farm winery in Central Massachusetts has been ruled arson.

Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said Wednesday investigators have eliminated accidental causes for the fire at the Obadiah McIntyre Farm Winery, part of the Charlton Orchards Farm which says it dates to 1733.

Coan said the fire appears to have started around 10:30 p.m. No one was injured.

Owners Nathan and Patricia Benjamin have estimated losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, including 4,000 gallons of wine. They say they were frustrated that firefighters who trucked in water to fight the blaze couldn’t access their pond. Nathan Benjamin said the fire destroyed surveillance video that might have helped investigators.

Anyone with information is asked to call the state’s confidential arson hotline 800-682-9229. A $5,000 state reward is offered.

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