Scuba club fire called suspicious

January 13, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

Scuba club fire called suspicious

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

WILLIAMSON, Pa. - Investigators believe a fire early Monday at a new scuba diving club may have been set to cover up a burglary.

A wooden structure used as an office and classrooms was destroyed in the 4:18 a.m. fire at the Williamson Scuba Club at a quarry off Pa. 995 between Chambersburg, Pa., and Greencastle, Pa., said Tom Bigler, chief of St. Thomas Township Fire and Rescue Company.

Teaching materials such as books, a television and videocassette recorder, a slide projector, and a computer and printer were in the destroyed building, although it's unknown if the contents were removed by the thieves before the building was set on fire, said Ed Vymazal, of Shippensburg, Pa., owner of the business and a diving instructor.


The structure was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene, but two other buildings nearby were saved, Bigler said.

The fire was labeled as being of suspicious origin because the fasteners on the doors of the buildings secured by padlocks were broken, according to Bigler and Vymazal.

Fire officials had no damage estimate Monday, but Vymazal said the loss from the fire and burglary was about $30,000.

The buildings and contents were not insured, Vymazal said.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Skip Sydnor was investigating.

There were no injuries.

After taking inventory Monday, Vymazal said several wet suits and regulators were taken from the remaining two buildings, which are used to store rental equipment and supplies, and hold air compressors.

"You could see where they carried off the stuff and dropped some along the way," he said.

The thieves apparently carried the equipment across an abandoned railroad track and up to Pa. 995, where they probably had a vehicle waiting, Vymazal said.

Vymazal, a retired diver on the Pennsylvania State Police Underwater Recovery Team, also owns Cumberland Scuba in Shippensburg, Pa.

He planned to turn the Williamson site into his headquarters and open it for scuba instruction in the spring.

He said he will rebuild at the location but may scale back his plans.

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