Fire strikes mission building in Pa.

February 19, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For the third time since September, a suspicious fire has damaged a North Main Street complex owned by the Four States Christian Mission Inc., fire officials said Wednesday.

The most recent fire was discovered shortly after 8 p.m. at 68 N. Main St. in a three-story vacant building used by the mission for storage.

The fire started in the rear central part of the building, according to a spokesman for the Chambersburg Fire Department.

The fire is under investigation by a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal.

The mission has owned both buildings at 68 and 72 N. Main St. for about 10 years, said Sonny Shank, spokesman for Union Rescue Mission, in Hagerstown, which runs Four States Christian Mission Inc.


The building next door houses a thrift shop run by the mission and was not affected by the fire, Shank said.

The mission ran a shelter for homeless men in the buildings until it was closed last July, Shank said.

The mission is negotiating to sell both buildings to the King Street United Brethren Church, said church Pastor Patrick B. Jones Wednesday. The church and mission properties adjoin each other.

Jones said his church has obtained permits to demolish the building at 68 N. Main St. as soon as it takes possession. The property will be turned into a parking lot, he said.

For the time being, the mission will continue to run the thrift shop next door, Jones said. "Eventually it will come down, too," Jones said.

The first fire occurred in September in the rear of the thrift shop building at 72 N. Main St. and caused heavy damage to the rear, said George Shank, manager of the shop. He and Sonny Shank are not related.

The second fire caused moderate damage to the first floor of the building at 68 N. Main St., George Shank said.

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