Fire at Pa. upholstery shop destroys furniture, antiques

November 10, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- An early morning fire at an upholstery shop on Wayne Road claimed the furniture and antiques of dozens of area residents, but left the concrete building still standing.

No injuries were reported in the 7:38 a.m. blaze at Fortney's Upholstery at 8673 Wayne Highway.

Mont Alto Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Adolini said an aging oil furnace was to blame for sparking the fire.

The blaze which charred the inside of his 1964 business started quickly, said shop owner Jim Fortney.

"I came in to open for the day, turned on the furnace and went to the shed out back," he said. "I was out there not five minutes when I saw the smoke."

The furnace ignited the ceiling, quickly becoming more than he could handle with a fire extinguisher, Jim Fortney said.

"I just can't believe it," said his wife Donna Fortney. "And before Christmas. Christmas is our busiest time of the year."


The fire caused between $60,000 and $70,000 in damage, Adolini said. The concrete block building, however, remained sound.

Firefighters from 12 fire units, including one from Leitersburg, had the fire under control in about 10 minutes, Adolini said.

Once contained, firefighters removed smoldering chairs, melting sheets of foam and sizzling couches from the concrete block building.

"All of this belongs to other people," Donna Fortney said, gesturing to a pile of blackened furniture that once had been an antique chair, wicker bench, mattress and a couch. "And when it is a priceless antique, there is no way to replace it."

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