By Kaylee Lindenmuth | firstname.lastname@example.org
SHENANDOAH - Fire crews finally cleared the scene of the former United Wiping Cloth Co. fire around 7:00pm this evening, but around 10:00pm, marshals were called back to the scene for an investigation.
The remains of the two story brick factory-turned-apartments continue to smolder late Friday evening, occasionally glowing and showing embers.
Fire officials say collapse damage inside the structure has made some hotspots unreachable. Noting that, and that the majority of the structure's interior now sits on the first floor of the structure, they said there isn't much else to do besides to let the hotspots burn themselves out.
Fire officials said they intend to monitor the site overnight in case any hotspots get out of hand, in which case they will call an engine to the scene. They add that the smoke condition would persist throughout the night.
The blaze broke out just before 4:00am Friday morning. Within about an hour of dispatch, the building was engulfed in flames and three alarms were struck, drawing crews from Schuylkill, Columbia, Northumberland, and Luzerne Counties to the scene.
Firefighters engaged in a defensive strategy, at one point focusing primarily on protecting Bower Street homes. Weather conditions did not cooperate with firefighters either, with temperatures in the high teens to low 20s, and winds upwards of 20mph.
The building was converted into apartments in the past few years, and officials said one resident was home at the time and he got out safely. No other injuries were reported.
Showing appreciation for our first responders
As day broke, appreciation was shown for the first responders from all sides. Lucky's Kielbasy Shop on West Centre Street prepared and delivered chili dogs to the scene, while several private residents donated water and other items.
Shenandoah Mayor Andrew J. Szczyglak took to Facebook to show his appreciation for the first responders.
"Your dedication to our community does not go unnoticed and I sincerely thank each and everyone of you good people for going above and beyond to keep us safe even in this ungodly cold weather," Szczyglak wrote.
Shenandoah Borough Council President Gordon Slater visited the scene early Friday morning and shared similar sentiments.
"My kudos to the fire department for the fast response to keep everything under control," Slater said.
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