ATF officials: cause of fatal York City fire “undetermined”

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY , P.A. --- Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials have few answers into what started a fire in downtown York that led to the death of two York City firefighters.

A fire that started on Wednesday, March 21 led to a partial building collapse on Thursday, March 22 while crews were battling hot spots in the old Weaver Organ and Piano building.

Firefighters Ivan Flanscha, 50, and Zach Anthony, 29, were killed in the collapse and two other firefighters were injured, but survived.

Donald Robinson, special agent in charge for ATF, said they've completed their investigation in York and, as of now, conclude the cause of the fire is "undetermined."

"The investigation will remain open and this determination may change as the result of new information or leads that come to us," said Robinson.

He said they followed up on 130 leads that led to 70 investigative reports from 30-40 investigators on-scene.

However, he said due to the damage sustained by the building, investigators knew, going in, that a cause would be hard to find.

"Normally, you want to go work your through from least to most damage and work your way through different floors and it's a multi-floored structure. You're looking for fire patterns and indications of fire dynamics inside and when it's all collapsed in a big pile, it makes it very challenging," said Robinson.

He said officials did agree the fire started on the first floor of the building.

While it wasn't conclusively ruled out, Robinson said they have no evidence of foul play.

He said they have "several" electrical items they've identified as potential accidental fire causes that will require further testing.

He also said they're still asking for tips with hopes of coming to a more thorough conclusion.

"We owe as much as we can to the families and the fire department to try and get some answers," said Robinson.

Robinson said they expect their Origin and Cause Report to be finalized in coming weeks.