Fire destroys McDonald garage

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A puncture in a diesel hose is suspected as the cause of an explosion early Monday afternoon that incinerated a public works building in McDonald.

No injuries were reported in the blast and fire at the building on East O’Hara Street. More than 10 fire companies, consisting of at least 100 firefighters, responded to the site, said Richard Phillips, a second assistant fire chief for the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department.

Although the cause of the blast was still under investigation and damage had yet to be fully assessed, Assistant Chief Phillips estimated the damage would exceed $100,000.

The building at 398 E. Ohara St. housed McDonald's public works equipment, including maintenance equipment and snow-removal vehicles.

Borough council called an emergency meeting for today to assess damage and discuss how the borough will compensate for the equipment and materials lost in the fire, Councilman Thomas McQuillan said.

“We got the McSummer Fest coming up, and we lost everything we have,” said Mr. McQuillan, who works part time at the facility and was nearby when the incident was reported.

Dale Markovich, who works as a mechanic at an automotive repair shop adjacent to the blast site, described a “hissing sound,” like that of a power washer. He walked outside and he saw the flames. Then came the boom.

It was like a bomb, Mr. Markovich said.

Police arrived on the scene, and emergency personnel remained there throughout the afternoon as smoke billowed from the charred structure more than two hours after the explosion was reported.

Michael Majchrowicz: or on Twitter @mjmajchrowicz. First Published June 16, 2014 12:42 PM

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