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Fire blamed on spark in coal dust

April 19, 1997

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Thursday fire that caused minor injuries to two Chambersburg firefighters, and minor damage to a historic local building, is believed to have started when sparks from welding equipment ignited coal dust in the basement, fire officials said Friday.

Workers are gutting the four-story brick building owned by Menno Haven, a complex for the elderly on Philadelphia Avenue, in preparation for its renovation into a 55-unit apartment complex, said Conrad Peachey, executive vice president of Menno Haven.

Peachey said damage to the building was slight. "There was very little fire damage. We estimate it to be less than $3,000," he said.

The fire will not delay the scheduled completion of the building in April 1998, Peachey said.

The building was once part of Penn Hall, a girls' preparatory school which closed in 1972. Menno haven bought the property in 1991.

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Two Chambersburg firefighters, Mark Trace and Josh Pougue, were treated for minor injuries in the fire, officials said.

More than 100 firefighters from six area companies responded to the fire.

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