A hardware store at the Hilldale Shopping Center is closed indefinitely after a fire Sunday caused an estimated $500,000 damage.

No one was hurt in the blaze at the Hilldale Ace Hardware Store, 414 N. Midvale Blvd., but the store's 2,000-square-foot warehouse was heavily damaged while the 14,000-square-foot retail area suffered extensive smoke damage.

Bob Lochner, owner of the store and four other area hardware stores, said it was unclear how much of the store's $500,000 to $600,000 worth of inventory can be salvaged and he expects the store to be closed until at least next week, if not longer.

"It's smaller than it could have been," Lochner said of the size of the fire.

He said the fire appeared to have started near a garbage can in the warehouse and was reported to the fire department by an alarm just after 10 p.m., about five hours after the store closed.

Bernadette Galvez, a spokeswoman for the Madison Fire Department, said that when the initial crew from Station No. 9, just a few blocks away, arrived, they looked through the windows and noticed heavy smoke throughout the building, constructed in 2003.

Lochner said the store employs 18 full- and part-time workers and is fully insured.

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