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Fire at plant may be result of lightning

May 23, 2004|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HALFWAY

A lightning strike early Saturday may have caused a fire that damaged the Danzer Industries manufacturing plant, President and Chief Executive Officer Mel Williams said.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office estimated the damage at $150,000 to the building at 17500 York Road in Halfway.

"Although the exact cause remains under investigation, arson is not suspected," a news release from the fire marshal's office said.

Danzer Industries, which was founded in 1886, makes truck bodies and cargo trailers, Williams said. It employs about 62 people.

The fire broke out in the ceiling of a product assembly area, according to a news release by Alan L. Matheny, public information officer for The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway.

The fire company was called to the scene about 4:40 a.m., Matheny said.

The passing motorist who first called for help thought it was a grass fire, he said.

But when firefighters arrived, fire was coming out of the roof, Matheny said.

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Some firefighters went inside to contain the inside fire, which was in a wing of the building that was about 200 feet by 100 feet, the fire marshal's office said.

Other crews used an aerial platform to fight the fire on the roof, which was unstable, Matheny said.

Matheny said 40 firefighters and rescue workers helped on the call. Crews stayed on the scene until 9:50 a.m. "due to the extensive overhaul of the layers of roofing material," he said.

After spending much of Saturday going through damage and rubble, Williams declared that business will carry on as scheduled on Monday - despite a gaping hole in the roof.

"Which is not to say it doesn't affect us," Williams said. "We'll improvise ... We'll manage. It's just another hiccup."

The burned area is screened off. The company is hoping that rain doesn't hit and make the situation worse, Williams said.

The company lost a paint booth in the fire, he said.

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