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No one hurt in Waynesboro apartment fire

July 22, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Two of four apartments at 80/82 W. Main St. were declared uninhabitable after a Monday afternoon fire that shut down a heavily traveled portion of Pa. 16 for more than two hours.

Firefighters worked in shifts of no more than 15 minutes as they combated temperatures of several thousand degrees, officials said.

The cause remained under investigation, but Waynesboro Fire Chief Dave Martin said the 2:30 p.m. fire started in a bedroom on the first floor. It caused approximately $40,000 damage, he said.

"Due to weather conditions and vicinity (to other buildings), we automatically went to a second alarm," Deputy Fire Chief Trayer Stoops said.

The first- and second-floor apartments with the heaviest damage abut the old Beck & Benedict building. Reports listed the address of the building differently, but the front of the brick structure has the numbers 80 and 82 over entryway doors.

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Firefighters found part of the blaze in an old partition wall.

"The fire was in areas between the buildings," Stoops said

No injuries were reported, Martin said.

"Everybody got out prior to our arrival," Stoops said.

A representative of the American Red Cross was on the scene.

Firefighters hailed from the Fountaindale, Greencastle Rescue Hose, Franklin, Long Meadow, Mont Alto, Smithsburg, Leitersburg and Blue Ridge departments. The Waynesboro Police Department and Waynesboro Ambulance Squad were on the scene, as well as the Franklin County Air Unit, Washington County Rehab Unit and Mont Alto Ambulance Squad.

"We had limited manpower on the equipment when we first arrived," Stoops said. Volunteers soon drove up in their personal vehicles, he said.

The first people to arrive found heavy black smoke coming from a two-story, wood-frame addition to the rear of the building, according to Stoops.

Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co. personnel tore into the faded green tin roof of that addition with a hatchet and chain saws. On the ground, firefighters leaving the building doused their faces and heads with water from plastic bottles.

The first block of West Main Street reopened at 5 p.m.

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