Incinerated Old Forge Gas Station to Reopen, Fire Accidental

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OLD FORGE -- Employees from Hair at 731 on Main Street in Old Forge said besides the biting cold, Wednesday started like any other day, but what's across the street is a reminder of just how hectic Wednesday became.

"Frank was just going to replace a headlight, the worker came over took my keys, took my car, and about 4:30 yesterday he came back with the keys, and 10 minutes later the place was up in flames," said owner Jane Kuniegel.

Kuniegel was feeling fortunate she got her car back when she did, especially looking at the Sunoco station in the daylight. The garage was gutted by flames, and two cars in for service were incinerated.

The building's owner said the fire started while a mechanic was working on a minivan. He said something sparked and started a small fire, but within minutes it got out of hand.

By the time firefighters arrived, the garage was already full of flames, and the department's fire chief said they were concerned it could spread to the gas tanks. He said they were able to get inside to shut off the pumps, that probably prevented an explosion.

After that, firefighters attacked from outside and above. The chief said some firefighters fell when the water from their hoses turned to ice, but no one was seriously injured. The mechanics working at the time got out safely too.

As for the owners of the cars in the garage, they'll be hearing from the building's insurance company.

Newswatch 16 spoke with the building's owner Thursday while he was meeting with insurance agents, he said his company already has plans to rebuild the gas station.