A fire heavily damaged an Amity Township building that houses a fabrication shop and some offices late Wednesday morning, Sept. 16.

Art Heist, Amity Township Fire Department assistant chief, said he saw a large column of smoke from Birdsboro as he was heading to the fire at 100 E. Ben Franklin Highway about 10:20 a.m. He quickly called for a second alarm. The fire was eventually upgraded to a third alarm for additional manpower to help battle the blaze.

“Volunteers are limited in manpower during the daytime,” Heist said. 

About 75 firefighters battled the fire, Heist said.

When Heist arrived at the fire, a man told him people were inside the building. Firefighters searched the building but found no one.

“No one else was in the building, thank God,” Heist said.

No injuries were reported, and the blaze was brought under control around 11:45 a.m.

Heist did not have a cause of the fire or damage estimate.

The township fire marshal and Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal are investigating the fire, Heist said.

The property is owned by Bristol Road Partners Inc., according to Berks County property records.

Heist did not know the name of the business.

The fire was not difficult to fight, Heist said, but the items in the fabrication shop, such as propane tanks, acetylene bottles and magnesium wheels made it challenging. 

“With magnesium, when you spray water on it, it makes the fire more intense,” Heist said.

The fire closed the eastbound lanes of Ben Franklin Highway, also known as Route 422, for several hours.

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