Wood floor stain led to Dusty Bookshelf fire

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The fire at The Dusty Bookshelf was started by flammable wood stain, according to store owner Diane Meredith. (Regan Tokos | The Collegian)

A newly stained floor led to a fire early Thursday morning at The Dusty Bookshelf in Aggieville, Diane Meredith, owner of The Dusty Bookshelf, said.

In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Meredith said the construction company remodeling the building applied a fresh coat of wood stain in the upstairs bathroom Wednesday night. The circumstances explaining how the stain caught fire are still unknown.

“We don’t exactly know what started it, but it was a stain that was particularly flammable,” Meredith said. “It’s what we suspected from the beginning.”

The two-story building was being remodeled for a new business listed under a building permit with the name “Co-op,” according to a news release from the Manhattan Fire Department.

Meredith first bought the bookstore from her former bosses as a student at K-State in the 1980s, moving the Aggieville staple in 1991 to where it stood until Thursday morning. She also owns Acme Gift, Thread and Varsity Donuts.

According to the news release, the building is “considered a total loss.” Neighboring businesses Varsity Donuts and Thread suffered smoke damage in the incident.

Linda Mays, executive director of the Aggieville Business Association, said in a phone interview that additional plans surrounding the remodeling of the building have not been made as of Thursday afternoon.

“There’s no talk of anything other than The Dusty Bookshelf as of right now,” Mays said.

Meredith said the planned Co-op business is meant to be a “completely reimagined bookstore concept” and “a very modern, fully realized [bookstore] with all the bells and whistles.”

Varsity Donuts and Thread are expected to reopen in the coming days.

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Contributing writer for the Collegian. I’m a senior studying journalism and mass communications and working on minors in political science and music. I also manage digital operations as a communications fellow with the Kansas Democratic Party; I do not report on or write about anything political unless it shows up in the opinion section.