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Firefighters respond to blaze at AJ Stove & Pellet

August 02, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Firefighters work to control a fire inside AJ Stove & Pellet off Colorado Street in Marion, Pa., Monday. The fire was reported at 11:45 a.m. and brought under control by 3 p.m., according to the Franklin County 911 Center.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch,

MARION, Pa. -- Firefighters from across Franklin County, Pa., helped the Marion Fire Department extinguish a fire Monday at AJ Stove & Pellet off Colorado Street.

The fire was reported at 11:45 a.m. and was under control by 3 p.m., according to the Franklin County 911 Center.

Firefighters used ladder trucks and residential-type ladders to access the stove business. The company manufactures wood-stove pellets by breaking down large wooden pallets.

Sometimes a nail or staple can create a spark in the auger, Marion Fire Chief Jerry Houpt said.

Houpt said he believes the fire was burning in a hopper in the back of the building on the side adjacent to railroad tracks. The spark caused a dust explosion.

"Being we've run there a couple times, we're aware of how the building is set up and versed on how they move the product," Houpt said.

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Firefighters responded to the site at least twice in the summer of 2008. At the time, Houpt said crews had been there three times in the previous five to seven years.

A code-enforcement officer from Commonwealth Code Inspection Services investigated after the last fire, Houpt said. The business was shut down while the owners made improvements required by Commonwealth Code, he said.

Houpt said he talked Monday with a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal, who said he'd contact Commonwealth Code regarding the latest fire.

The fire and associated explosion blew the roof off a hopper. Houpt said fire officials placed a ladder truck on that side of the building for access, and 911 dispatchers contacted the railroad to alert an oncoming train.

The train was able to slow down and pass, Houpt said.

Responding to the fire were 30 to 40 firefighters from Marion, New Franklin, Franklin, Chambersburg, Greencastle and Waynesboro. The Franklin County Air Unit also responded.

No one was injured, Houpt said.

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