Fire causes $5,000 in damage at jeweler

Firefighters responded to a call early Wednesday at Marks Jewelers, 817 Mass., in Downtown Lawrence. Emergency dispatchers said the call came in at 5:50 a.m. Fire crews were seen entering and exiting the building and adjacent buildings.

The 14th oldest jewelry store in the United States is still operating this morning in downtown Lawrence, in spite of a small fire sparked by a malfunctioning piece of equipment.

Marks Jewelers, 817 Mass., is open as usual, after Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical personnel were called to the scene at 5:50 a.m. to respond to a small fire in the store’s second-floor shop.

Brad Parsons, who has co-owned the store since 1982, described the problems as “an equipment failure that created combustion,” a fire quickly detected by the business’ alarm system and extinguished by firefighters.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Parsons said. “We’re very fortunate. We know the amount of money we spend on alarms and preventative measures a lot of times does seem wasteful and unnecessary, but the reason we’re standing here right now is the alarm system was in place and functioning perfectly.”

Joe Hoelscher, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical division chief, said that the cause of the second-floor fire did not appear to be suspicious.

“It was quickly found and extinguished,” he said.

Parsons said he did not yet know how much damage the fire had caused, although he described it as “minimal.” The problem piece of shop equipment was destroyed in the fire.

Marks Jewelers has been in business continually since 1880.