DONEGAL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – There were some major safety concerns over propane tanks as dozens of firefighters battled a destructive fire at a lumber yard in Donegal Township Saturday morning.
According to the Chestnut Ridge fire chief, the blaze broke out around 9 a.m. at Babcock Lumber on Roaring Run Road. One building was destroyed and another was damaged.
A thick cloud of smoke could be seen for miles Saturday morning coming from the lumber yard.
The fire, of unknown origin, started in a wood-framed storage building that contained lumber and finished wood products.
When firefighters first arrived, one building was burning furiously, another was being threatened and firefighters had to worry about several dozen propane tanks on the property.
“I don’t know how many tanks blew up here,” said Tom Shaffer, a neighbor. “There was lots of them laying back there. There must have been 25 explosions or something, I don’t know.”
Firefighters had to focus on controlling the flames.
They could not prevent the fire from destroying the building, but they did stop it from seriously damaging the warehouse next door, which required thousands of gallons of water.
“It was a lot of wood down here,” said Chief Dan Brinkey, of the Chestnut Ridge Fire Department. “We do have a hydrant system; we were hooked into, but with all the multiple buildings, we had to call in additional tanker units to feed the other end of the fire scene.”
Neighbors say the lumber yard has had several fires over the years but this is the worst.
“We have some of the best firemen and equipment around,” said Ryan Pletcher, another neighbor. “It’s good that we have the volunteers to do this or a lot of people would be in trouble.”
Crews from three different counties helped to contain the blaze.
KDKA’s Bob Allen reports that no one from the lumber company was available for comment.
No firefighters were injured and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.