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Vacant building heavily damaged in two-alarm fire

July 01, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

QUINCY, Pa. - Vacant for the past few months and soon to be demolished, a portion of one of the oldest buildings in the village of Quincy was heavily damaged by a two-alarm fire Monday afternoon.

The fire at the 21/2 story colonnaded wood frame house at 8594 Anthony Highway (Pa. 997) was reported at 5:51 p.m., according to Franklin County Communications. The house is attached to the former Anderson Hotel, built in 1842 by John Monn for George Anderson, according to an Oct. 9, 1879, edition of The Village Record.

The old, long-vacant brick hotel was not seriously damaged by the fire, although William Sellers, a Mont Alto, Pa., volunteer firefighter, said there was some extension into the roof. He said firefighters at first tried to attack the fire from inside, but were forced to fight it from outside.

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"It was coming down anyhow," said Kerry Bumbaugh, owner of the building and a Quincy Township supervisor. He said a family had lived in the wooden part of the building until about three months ago.

Bumbaugh said he has owned the building for about a decade and was planning to have it torn down in the near future.

"When we pulled up, we had heavy fire coming out of the second floor and attic area to the front," Mont Alto Fire Chief Mark Garling said as firefighters continued to pour water into the charred and smoldering upper floors. "You could see the smoke for miles."

"Nobody lived in the building, but there was power in the building," he said. The cause of the fire had not been determined by Monday evening and Garling said a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal was coming to investigate.

"They made a very aggressive stop" to keep the fire from spreading to the attached structures, Garling said of the firefighters. He said it took about 45 minutes to bring under control.

"The second alarm was called in for manpower," Garling said. More firefighters were needed to rotate in and out of battling the fire to keep them from becoming exhausted from the heat.

A rehab station was set up across the street from the burning building where firefighters could take off their gear, rest up and quench their thirst. There were no injuries, according to Garling.

Garling estimated about 75 firefighters were on the scene at one point. Sellers said there were 27 pieces of equipment at the scene.

Mont Alto was assisted by Franklin County, Pa., units from Waynesboro, Chambersburg, Greencastle, Blue Ridge Summit, Fayetteville, South Mountain, Marion and New Franklin, as well as the Fountaindale and Buchanan Valley fire companies from Adams County, Pa.

Jim Powell of 8586 Anthony Highway was coming home from work when he saw the smoke and encountered fire police blocking off the road north of his home. He thought the fire might have been at his house, just across an alley from the fire scene.

Fire hoses were run a few hundred feet to a creek to draw water to put out the fire.

Whether by fire or demolition, Dave Fair of 8624 Anthony Highway said he does not want the community to lose what is left of the historic building. He said he believed a brick addition and the wooden structure were added to the Anderson Hotel in about 1864.

A faded hanging sign in front of the brick addition indicated it had once been home to a chapter of the Patriotic Order Sons of America.

"There's a lot of people in the area that didn't want to see it taken down," said Fair. He said a group of people were circulating a petition in an effort to get Bumbaugh to change his mind about tearing it down.

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