HAGERSTOWN — One of the owners of the building that housed the former M.P. Moller Pipe Organ factory in Hagerstown said Thursday that he is working with an insurance adjuster to help the building's tenant get back in business after a fire ripped through a large portion of the structure Jan. 6.
Frankie Corsi III, of Moller Properties LLC in Frederick, Md., said he has been in contact with insurance representatives for Eastern Organ Pipes Inc., which was the sole tenant of the building at 403 N. Prospect St., to help the pipe maker restore its operations.
"We did talk to the insurance company, and we did talk to the president of Eastern," Corsi said. "We want to move forward as quickly as possible. We'd like them back in the building."
Corsi said his business partner, John Laughlin, talked to Frederick Morrison, one of Eastern's three owners, on Thursday.
Neither Morrison nor Eastern co-owner Jack Rogers could be reached Thursday to provide further details. A third Eastern owner, Delphin Frushour, said he hasn't talked to anyone from Moller Properties LLC since the fire.
Hagerstown Fire Marshal Doug DeHaven said Wednesday that the water supply for the sprinkler system in the factory was turned off before the fire started in a paint booth. He said the blaze probably would have been doused by the time firefighters arrived had the water been turned on.
Frushour said Wednesday that his company did not have control over the building's sprinkler system and that he assumed it was operational.
Corsi said Thursday that he didn't want to comment further until the insurance company made a decision.
In addition to the sprinkler system, paint buildup and filters that prevent paint overspray and vapors from being released into the air helped fuel the fire, DeHaven said. The financial damage caused by the fire has not been determined.
The fire spread quickly through an addition to the original brick section of the building. About 50 firefighters spent roughly three hours battling the blaze.
Morrison said at the scene last week that a painter was cleaning his spray gun at the end of the day and saw a flash. One employee of the organ pipe factory was treated for minor burns.
Eastern Organ Pipes Inc. began operations in 1993 after M.P. Moller Pipe Organ filed for bankruptcy a year earlier.
At one point, Moller Organ was the largest pipe organ manufacturer in the world, producing organs for the Camp David Chapel and the U.S. Naval Academy.
The land and building at 403 N. Prospect St. is assessed at $608,300, according to the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation's website.