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Cause of pa. fire undetermined

March 09, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The cause of a Saturday morning fire on South Potomac Street will be listed as "undetermined" unless further information becomes available.

"It can be changed," Waynesboro Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman said.

The 3:30 a.m. fire at a four-unit apartment building - 7, 9, 11 and 13 S. Potomac St. - was called "suspicious" by Waynesboro Fire Chief Ron Flegel that day.

Flegel said it started on the second floor of the vacant building, which owner Wayne Building Inc. had tentative plans to demolish.

"My belief is that it was just common combustibles," Hartman said, citing trash as an example of a common combustible.

He was unable to determine what ignited the combustibles.

All of the electricity had been shut off in the building, and items inside recently were removed to prepare for the probable demolition.

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Upon arrival, firefighters found the building unlocked and unsecured, according to Flegel.

Hartman was on the scene Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. He said he searched for clues by following burn patterns and digging through rubble.

The fire drew about 110 firefighters from 11 fire companies, kept several borough streets closed until 9:30 a.m. and produced more smoke than some fire officials said they had seen in a long time.

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