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Storage buildings destroyed in fire

December 12, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HUYETTS CROSSROADS - Two storage buildings at 12066 Smithfield Farm Lane and their contents were destroyed by a fire Wednesday, causing an estimated $250,000 worth of damage.

Will Ball, chief of the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co., said property owner Vincent Smith's metal garages contained lowboy trailers, old cars and heavy equipment. None of it was insured, he said.

Firefighters had to cope with heavy smoke, which Ball said was caused by burning tires and fuel.

One substantial thing that firefighters saved was an outdoor furnace that heated Smith's house. Ball said it forces hot water or hot air through underground pipes. It was heavily damaged, but still worked.

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"That's a $10,000 system," Ball said. "It's very sophisticated."

Ball said the furnace, which was in between the two ruined buildings, was what accidentally started the fire. An ember ignited a nearby wood pile. Smith tried to put out the fire, but couldn't, he said.

A trailer adjacent to the maintenance garages was saved, Ball said.

Smith lost about five storage trailers in the fire, Ball said.

Smith couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The metal maintenance garages - about 150 feet long by 60 feet wide - caught fire at about 12:30 p.m.

It took firefighters about 90 minutes to put out the fire. Some firefighters remained on the scene at 8 p.m.

After the fire was under control, firefighters pulled the crumpled metal walls apart and tossed pieces on a scrap heap.

By then, a steady freezing rain had tapered off into a drizzle, but the temperature was still low.

Smithfield Farm Lane is off U.S. 40, west of Md. 63. Smith's property is about a half-mile from U.S. 40.

Firefighters from Williamsport were assisted by crews from Halfway, Maugansville, Clear Spring, Fairplay, Funkstown and Longmeadow. A Greencastle, Pa., tanker truck also helped.

Ball said the fire consumed water rapidly, forcing the need for more tanker trucks. The closest hydrant was about 3,000 feet away across a field, he said.

Williamsport's ambulance squad and Washington County's air unit and rehab unit also responded to the call.

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