The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

April 21, 2014

BJ's office source of blaze

Trooper: Damage too severe to pinpoint cause

DANVILLE — DANVILLE — A state police fire marshal has determined the damage was too extensive to pinpoint a cause of a fire at BJ’s Steak and Rib House.

Tpr. Kirk Renn, of the Milton barracks, said the blaze Sunday night began in a second-floor office.

The cause is not suspicious, according to Danville Deputy Fire Chief John Moyer.

Renn probed the cause from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Moyer said there were smoke alarms in the building but he didn’t know if they went off.

The BJ’s building was close to two other buildings in the downtown — a Geisinger Medical Center building and the Abigail’s Attic building.

Assistant Danville Fire Chief Ken Strausser said the fire was reported by a firefighter, driving by after fishing, who saw a lot of smoke.

“The firefighter called his station,” Strausser said of the fast response by the Continental Fire Company which was the first company on the scene.

Strausser emphasized the importance of early detection systems and early suppression systems, or sprinklers, for businesses.

He said the last Danville fire company left the scene at 3 a.m. Monday.

In speaking about damage to the third floor and attic of the adjacent Abigail’s Attic building, Moyer said the Northumberland ladder truck trenched the roof “and what that does is alleviate heat in the attic to attack the fire and put it out so it doesn’t spread.”

The Geisinger building, on the other side of BJ’s, was protected by its cinder block and brick, he said. “Firefighters put water curtains between the buildings to keep it cool.”

Moyer said the BJ’s fire was similar to the alarm they responded to where the Scott’s Floral & Gift building in the downtown was destroyed in the spring of 2003.

“The guys did a super job. Their training shows when it comes to the point where you just react. It makes our job so much easier,” he said of Sunday night’s firefight.

PPL cut power to the entire circuit in the BJ’s area with a large circuit allowing people and emergency responders to work safely, according to utility spokeswoman Teri MaBride.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience, but it was the right thing to do,” she said.

To isolate the fire scene, 1,832 customers were powerless at 9:34 p.m. At 11:11 p.m., service was restored to 1,701 customers with 152 without service.

Work at the fire scene continued with PPL briefly removing customers from service at 2:51 a.m. Electricity was restored at 3:05 a.m. Monday.


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