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Weight of corn collapses building wall

November 17, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Tons of grain spilled out of a warehouse like fruit from a cornucopia Tuesday when the rear wall collapsed at Letterkenny Army Depot.

The collapse at Building 651 on Carbaugh Avenue was called in at 1 p.m., according to a Franklin County 911 dispatcher. No one was injured when the steel-reinforced concrete block wall gave way, according to Franklin Fire Co. Deputy Chief Mark Trace.

"The grain was stacked too high on the rear wall of the building," Trace said. The weight of the corn "pushed the wall out," he said.

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The breach in the wall was about 80 feet wide and a portion of the roof above the collapsed wall also fell in, he said.

Although owned by the Army, the warehouse was leased to the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority until it is deeded over to LIDA, according to John Van Horn, executive director of the authority. The authority, in turn, leased the 200-foot-by-1,000-foot warehouse to Woods Properties, which subleased part of the building to Franklin Feed and Supply Co., he said.

"There's thousands of bushels. We don't know how many right now," Carl Flohr, president of Franklin Feed, said about how much corn was stored in the building. He agreed with Trace that the cause of the collapse was likely too much weight up against the wall of the building.

Franklin Feed has been renting space at the depot because harvests have been bountiful the past two years and extra storage space was needed for the surplus grain, Flohr said.

No one was in the part of the building where the collapse occurred, Trace said. The depot leased space at the other end of the warehouse and that part of the building was evacuated as a precaution, he said.

Depot spokesman Alan Loessy said there are never more than three people assigned to the section leased by the Army.

Firefighters from the Franklin Fire Co. and the depot were on the scene until shortly before 3 p.m., the dispatcher said.

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