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Officials probing origin of Chambersburg blaze

April 10, 2001

Officials probing origin of Chambersburg blaze



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


Fire investigators Monday were still trying to determine what caused a two-day fire that began Thursday at a dry storage building.

The fire at 1335 S. Fourth Ave. burned for two days before it was extinguished late Saturday afternoon, said Chambersburg Fire Department Chief William Dubbs.

Firefighters pumped thousands of gallons of water and foam into the basement of the Franklin Storage facility, where the fire ignited around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Investigators from the Chambersburg Fire Department, the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal's Office and an insurance company entered the building for the first time Monday morning in an attempt to determine what sparked the blaze.

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"The fire started in the basement area, but at this point the cause is still under investigation," Dubbs said Monday evening.

An electrical engineer would be brought in Wednesday to further examine the building, Dubbs said.

The fire was called in at 12:38 p.m. Thursday, when the only employee at the facility returned from a short lunch break to find smoke in the stairwell.

Fire companies from across the county and more than 100 firefighters helped put out the fire.

"We used over 650 gallons of foam and a lot of water to smother the fire because we couldn't get to it," Dubbs said.

Because of poor visibility, heavy smoke and questions about the stability of the structure, officials pulled firefighters from the building about two hours after they arrived on the scene.

Smoke poured from the six-story building's few windows throughout Thursday, and firefighters pumped water into the basement and monitored the fire until it was finally out Saturday.

Fire companies from Halfway and Frederick, Md., loaned some of the foam and equipment.

Dubbs could not say if the building, which was storing cookware, would need to be demolished.

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