Fire damages two-story storage garage

Heavy flames could be seen from the west side of the burning garage.
photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury
Heavy flames could be seen from the west side of the burning garage. photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury

(Updated 2:45 p.m.) BOYERTOWN — On the way back from responding to a motorcycle crash on Route 100, the Boyertown Fire Department stumbled on a large structure fire off West Philadelphia Avenue Monday morning.

Around 9:30 a.m., the Boyertown Fire Department was dispatched to fight a fire at a barn-style storage garage for C.W. Kline Granite Works on the 300 block of West Philadelphia Avenue.

However, it was already heading to the fire when the official dispatch came in.

“I was at the (motorcycle) accident and heading back. I saw the column of smoke and I thought, ‘Nothing should be burning like that in the borough,’” said Ashley Neubauer, chief of Boyertown Lions Community Ambulance.


She called it in and crews arrived to find flames shooting out of the roof of the two-story structure.

Boyertown Fire Department Chief Dave Eisenhard said the cause of the fire couldn’t be determined until it was safe to go inside and investigate. Firefighters were able to knock the blaze down within a half-hour, he said.

Most of the fire was contained to the second floor on the building’s north side.

“It was mainly on this side moving along the roof,” Eisenhard said.

At one point, part of the second floor collapsed, Eisenhard said. The corrugated metal of the roof showed a large hole and was twisted inward where much of the fire came through.

“It both melted and the structure came down,” Eisenhard explained.

Because the structure has a double roof, an inside of shingles and an outside covering of corrugated tin, it took a little longer knocking down hot spots and making sure nothing was still burning, according to Eisenhard.

After the fire was extinguished, crews stuck around for a few hours using Halligan bars, chain saws and other equipment to peel off parts of the roof or knock out walls to make sure nothing was smoldering or possible to fall off the building.

Despite the obvious damage to the building, Eisenhard said it was still “structurally sound” and not a total loss.

It was difficult to assess what kind of damage was done in dollar figures because of what was inside the structure.

“He had a lot of materials (inside), so it’s hard to tell,” Eisenhard said.

Tarps were put over some of the material and equipment inside to protect them from water damage from the fire fighting efforts.

The owners could be seen inspecting the property early in the afternoon, checking what might be salvageable.

Although there were no injuries associated with the fire, temperatures almost reached the 70s for the first time in months. Crews had to be careful to stay hydrated while working the fire.

Camp chairs were set up on a stone driveway where EMTs could be seen taking firefighters’ blood pressures.

“We do that especially for people who were on the inside,” Eisenhard said.

Along with the Boyertown Fire Department, New Hanover, Amity, Bally, Sassamansville, Mt. Penn, Eastern Berks and Liberty fire companies all responded. Boyertown Ambulance was also assisted by Gilbertsville Area Community Ambulance. The Salvation Army responded as well, providing food for the firefighters as they worked through the morning into the afternoon.

West Philadelphia Avenue was shut down for the entirety of its 300 block and many other streets in the area were closed off by fire police and the Boyertown Police as well.

The condition of the motorcyclist from the original accident was unknown Monday afternoon.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.


BOYERTOWN — Emergency crews are on the scene of a building fire in the 300 block of W. Philadelphia Avenue. Flames have been extinguished but smoke is dissipating throughout the borough. There does not appear to be any injuries.

A reporter is on the scene gathering information.