By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item
FREEBURG — Fire officials still are investigating the cause of a blaze that gutted a former auction house and a store on Saturday.
The fire, which was reported shortly after 7 p.m., began in the second floor of the auction house at 107 E. Market St. and spread to 105 E. Market St., a grocery store and community market. No loss estimate was available Sunday night.
A fire marshal will visit the scene to investigate the cause at 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to William Newman, chief of the Freeburg Fire Company.
“The building is a total loss,” Newman said of the auction house. The market also sustained severe damage, according to a report filed by the fire company. Both properties are owned by Lawrence Zechman.
Three people rented apartments above the auction house, and the two who were home at the time of the fire made it to safety. The American Red Cross is finding accommodations for the three men, Newman said. The residents were identified as David Heiser, Rickey Zechman, the landlord’s brother, and Freeburg Fire Company member Treg Dressler, who was not home at the time of the fire, Newman said.
About 100 firefighters were at the scene from departments in Freeburg, Selinsgrove, Middleburg, Kreamer, Mount Pleasant Mills, Hummels Wharf, Shamokin Dam, Port Trevorton, Liverpool, Sunbury, Northumberland, Richfield, Penns Creek, New Berlin, Mifflinburg and Kratzerville. Also assisting were Selinsgrove and Middleburg ambulances.
The firefighters left the scene at 12:10 a.m.
One firefighter was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. One of the residents also was transported for treatment of burns, according to the report.
The fire also caused minor damage to homes on both sides of the buildings, according to the fire department report.