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Owner: No immediate plans for building that housed former organ factory

Frankie Corsi III said he won't be able to assess damage until fire probe is complete

January 07, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Organ pipes lie on ground with other rubble Friday behind the former M.P. Moller Pipe Organ plant. A fire Thursday destroyed a wood-framed addition to the original brick structure.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The owner of the building that housed the former M.P. Moller Pipe Organ factory in Hagerstown said he has no immediate plans for the property after a fire tore through a large portion of the structure Thursday afternoon.

Frankie Corsi III said Friday that he wouldn't be able to assess the damage until the Hagerstown Fire Marshal's Office finishes its investigation.

"The firefighters did an excellent job containing the fire to a small section of the building— a wood-framed addition to the original brick structure," Corsi wrote in an e-mail.

"The  ongoing investigation will determine whether any structural damage to the original structure occurred as a result of the fire. We do not have any immediate plans for the building."

The fire, which started at about 3:25 p.m. and took firefighters roughly three hours to control, ripped through a section of the north end of the building at 403 N. Prospect St.

M.P. Moller filed for bankruptcy in 1992. A year later, Eastern Organ Pipes Inc. opened in the rear of the building.

Eastern Organ Pipes co-owner Frederick Morrison said Thursday as firefighters battled the blaze that the fire started in a spray-painting booth on the ground floor.

"Our spray painter was cleaning out his spray gun at the end of the day, and he said he saw a flash ... something ignited the vapors," Morrison said.

Morrison said Eastern Organ Pipes rents the building.

One of Morrison's partners, Jack Rogers, said he would have to wait on the insurance adjuster's findings but believed the business could be salvaged after seeing the damage Friday morning with fire officials.

"It is feasible," he said. "Some of the areas were untouched. There's not as much damage as I thought there would be."

On Friday, fire investigators sifted through the damage to determine the cause. Water that firefighters sprayed on the building the day before still flowed in steady streams from the upper to lower levels, forming a narrow creek that ran across a muddy roadway into nearby woods.

Windows and doorways were boarded up where firefighters broke into the building to attack the fire from inside.

City Fire Marshal Doug DeHaven said Friday that officials spent about seven hours examining the scene and interviewing witnesses. He said he intended to interview more people early next week.

"We collected a lot of good information," DeHaven said. "We should be able to (determine the cause) Tuesday or Wednesday."

Five of the seven Eastern Organ Pipes employees were working at the time of the fire, DeHaven said. One employee suffered minor burns to the neck area and was treated at the scene. No one else was injured, he said.

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