Fire, explosions destroys public works shop in York County

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A state police fire marshal is working to determine what caused a massive fire that destroyed Lower Windsor Township’s maintenance building this morning.

The size and scope of the fire brought out crews from across York County, neighboring counties and as far away as Maryland.

The building had been the former township meeting building, but it was being used as a public works shop and a daycare. The building is a total loss.

A police officer headed out to a call noticed smoke coming from the building located at 111 Walnut Valley Court just before 8 a.m. People who live nearby said they heard multiple explosions.

“Sounded like a gunfight going off and then the next thing you know, firetrucks and police,”  said Josh Mego, who was woken up by the booms.

Township employees were at the shop earlier in the morning, but no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

It housed maintenance vehicles, equipment and fuel.

With no hydrants in the area, firefighters relied on tankers to rush water to the scene. The fire proved to be a huge challenge and danger to firefighters, who got the fire under control in about two hours.

“We kept our guys back and fought it as a defensive attack, as we call it,” said Chief Jesse Frantz of Craley Volunteer Fire Dept 44. “All exterior fighting only. Just to keep away from the explosions.”

The fire is absolutely devastating to this township. There are the only two trucks left in its fleet. But township officials said they’re just grateful no one was hurt.

“That’s the big thing, we can replace equipment, we can replace a building, but we can’t replace people, so we’re very thankful for that,” said Chief Tim Caldwell of Lower Windsor Township Police.

There’s no estimate on the damage just yet. The township has insurance, but it will take a while to replace all of what was lost.

In the meantime, neighboring townships are offering their help and support.