News

Massive fire destroys Lebanon County business

Written by Daniel Walmer and Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News | Nov 6, 2015 2:23 AM
fire_acorn_design.jpg

Fire crews from three counties battle a massive blaze at Acorn Manufacturing at 24 Terry Lane in South Londonderry Township on Thursday, November 5, 2015. Water had to be trucked in by tankers to extinguish the blaze that engulfed a 55,000 square foot structure (Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News)

(Undated) -- A massive fire in South Londonderry Township Thursday evening destroyed the Acorn Design and Manufacturing plant as firefighters from three counties fought visible flames for more than two hours.

The blaze at 24 Terry Lane was first reported at 7:20 p.m., and Lawn Fire Co. arrived to a working fire, said John Breive, emergency management coordinator for South Londonderry Township.

There were no injuries reported, and three night shift employees who were in the factory when the fire started exited safely.

"We got very lucky," factory worker Mike Badolato said.

Badolato was working on a machine when he saw smoke and poked his head through a nearby door. On the other side of a partition wall he could see flames, and smoke was filling up the length of the building.

"After that, it was just a matter of 'get out'," he said.

Abdelkrim Stitou, who was also working at the factory, said the blaze went from manageable to out of control very quickly.

"Within two to three minutes, we couldn't see anything," he said.

fire_acorn_design2.jpg

Fire crews from three counties battle a massive blaze at Acorn Manufacturing at 24 Terry Lane in South Londonderry Township. (Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News)

Both Badolato and Breive said they had no idea of the cause of the fire.

A manufacturer of custom-made point-of-sale displays, Acorn Design and Manufacturing was recently renamed Bench Dogs, and its owners announced in October they planned to move operations to a new plant in Denver, Lancaster County this month. In 2013, the Central Penn Business Journal ranked it 17th on its Top 50 list of "Central Pennsylvania's Fastest Growing" businesses.

Nate Zimmerman, co-owner of Zimmerman Chair in North Cornwall Township, was at the fire scene and said he purchased the plant this week, but had not yet moved into the facility.

Zimmerman said the 55,000-square-foot building was still occupied by Bench Dogs, although it was not clear exactly what equipment and materials were inside.

Zimmerman Chair planned to expand its operation to property, and as of Thursday night, those plans are still on, he said.

"God is in control," he said.

At least 20 fire companies from Lebanon, Dauphin and Lancaster counties were called to the scene, officials said. Tanker trucks from as far away as Lickdale and Jonestown shuttled water from Mt. Gretna Lake to the firefighters.

Flames could be seen from miles away and remained visible until after 9:30 p.m.

Breive said the blaze appeared to have been contained to the factory, but for a while "it was a pretty hot fire."

Local officials said that Route 117 would likely remain closed for "quite a while" as emergency responders continued to battle the blaze.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily Record and WITF.

Published in Lebanon, News

Tagged under , , , , , ,

back to top

Post a comment

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »