BEAVER FALLS (KDKA) – A hangar at the Beaver County Airport was heavily damaged by an early Tuesday morning fire.
According to officials at the scene, the fire started around 3 a.m. in hangar 77.
ACES Aviation is housed in the hangar and the owner said that only a portion of the hangar was affected by the fire. However, most of the affected portion housed the aviation school.
The majority were students from the Community College of Beaver County, some getting ready to graduate.
“Right now, all of our students are going to be held up until we can sort through this mess,” Sam Scriva, the president of ACES Aviation, said.
“The sheriff’s department on patrol discovered the building,” said Deputy Chief Mike Johnston, of the Chippewa Volunteer Fire Department, said. “It had a good head start before it was even discovered. It was heavily involved in fire by the time we were notified.”
Dozens of firefighters worked to contain it. ACES Aviation and two other offices were gutted, a few small airplanes appeared only slightly damaged.
“Civil Air Patrol had an office in that hangar and it also was damaged,” said Beth Lavalle, of the Beaver County Airport. “I’ve been out here since 1985, and we’ve never had anything like this.”
The airport lost power during the fire, but maintained normal operations.
“We’re still operating because our control tower operates off of a generator, so we do have runway and taxi way lighting,” said Lavalle.
Community College of Beaver County administrators who arrived at the scene did not want to comment. But ACES Aviation is hoping to find solutions for the students.
“I feel sorry that they’re going to be held up in their flying,” Scriva added.
Tanker trucks we’re brought in from as far as Ohio to help contain the fire. The State Police Fire Marshal is continuing the investigation.