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Fire destroys Waynesboro warehouse

January 24, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Tuesday morning fire that destroyed a downtown warehouse is believed to have started in a 1999 Ford Econoline van.

The van was parked in the center of the west side of the warehouse near Nu-Way Cleaners on Mulberry Avenue. The blaze spread east through the 50-foot-by-80-foot structure, Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department officials said.

"We were able to contain the fire inside the building," Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman said.

Infrared sensors on a burglar alarm were triggered - likely by the flames - and Waynesboro police found all of the windows and doors secure upon arrival. Police called the fire department at 5:22 a.m., Hartman and Fire Chief Ron Flegel said.

About 50 firefighters fought the blaze from outside the structure and kept it from spreading to the adjacent coin-operated laundry center or RE/MAX realty office. Those businesses remained open Tuesday while backhoes pushed debris into a pile on the Rotary parking lot.

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Included among the rubbish were the charred remains of the van, four other vehicles and a forklift. Remnants of carpet had been pulled from the back of the warehouse owned by Chuck Morningstar, who operates Waynesboro Floor Covering.

Hartman said the fire was accidental and started within the van's engine.

"There were multiple explosions inside the building because of the service trucks inside," said Jan Gilliland, an apparatus driver.

Firefighters brought the blaze under in control in about 90 minutes, but continued to check the remains for hot spots for several hours.

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