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Blaze closes part of Pa. 16

September 03, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - A downtown building fire Saturday night closed the first block of Pa. 16 west of Center Square as smoke rose above 47-51 W. Main St. and explosions could be heard.

Starting at 9:30 p.m., wiring crackled as flames climbed the back of the brick structure shared by Dollar General, Freed Spirit Christian Bookstore and Gift Shop, and Michael Benedict Construction Co.

"It looked like fireworks when we were coming back from Chambersburg (Pa.)," Rick Calimer of Waynesboro said.

Allegheny Power cut electricity to the building at 10:10 p.m., but a portion of the block already had lost power by then. Some of the service had been quickly restored for those buildings.

An answering service at Allegheny Power said the number of affected customers wouldn't be available until morning.

Smoke continued to rise from the building more than an hour after the initial smoke could be seen. The businesses' doors were opened by fire and police, sending smoke filtering toward the crowd gathered on the sidewalk across the street.

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Firefighters from several departments were reporting fire-related problems in the basement at press time.

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