Firefighters Battle Flames in 100-year-old Building in Susquehanna County

SUSQUEHANNA, Pa. -- A piece of history has been reduced to rubble in the borough of Susquehanna after a fire burned for hours Monday night.

There's not much left of the Susquehanna Transcript building on the corner of Main Street and Exchange Street in the borough of Susquehanna, and soon there will be nothing. The building has to be torn down.

A state police fire marshal tells Newswatch 16 the fire broke out after 9 p.m. Monday.

"Extremely bad from what we're used to seeing," said Susquehanna firefighter Kevin Kelly.

Ed Johnson lives next door to the building that houses the Susquehanna Transcript and vacant apartments. His home is temporarily condemned until the building is torn down. He's just glad his home is still standing.

"Thank God for the firemen. They did a great job. They literally saved my house, literally saved my house," Johnson said.

A firetruck was damaged when the back wall of the building collapsed, but no firefighters were injured.

A state police fire marshal tells Newswatch 16 the fire broke out in the side of the building that houses apartments but has been vacant since January.

Harry Metcalfe lives by the Penn Can Speedway about a mile away. He knew the fire was bad because he could see a glow in the sky from his home.

"Then I come down this morning and there's nothing left," Metcalfe said.

The building has been here for more than 100 years.

"It's kind of a tragedy because you know it's been here for so long. It was a fixture in the town, but like everything else, it has to go," Metcalfe added.

Elaine Aldrich is the store manager at the Dollar General, right behind the Susquehanna Transcript building. Police told her and the other employees to evacuate the store last night.

"Within half an hour the flames started, and they just would not stop," Aldrich recalled. "There got to be one point that you could not even see the buildings. Like, the smoke was so thick we actually had to come around the side to get out of it. There was so much smoke."

She said there was a large crowd of people outside her store watching the firefighters battle the flames including the couple who owns the building and the newspaper. Elaine says it was heartbreaking for them to watch their business burn.

"Oh, all of Main Street was lined. This is a very small community. Everybody knows everybody so this has touched a lot of people in this town."

The fire is still under investigation. There is no word on when the building will be demolished.

As for the Susquehanna Transcript newspaper, its owners have yet to announce a decision on what comes next for their century-old business.

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