AVIS - A large, three-bay storage building was destroyed by fire Thursday evening at Avis Building Supplies, 3265 Woodward Ave., although a massive response and effort by local firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to nearby buildings on the sprawling, Ace Hardware complex.
Firefighters said when they were alerted to the emergency around 7:30 p.m., the potential challenges faced in fighting a blaze in a structure storing a large amount of wood products were readily apparent.
A second alarm was sounded, and eventually more than 50 firefighters from Woolrich, Wayne Township, Avis, Jersey Shore, Antes Fort, Dunnstown and other units were dispatched to the fire.
Traffic on Route 150 was rerouted around the scene, as fire police cordoned the highway and waived motorists onto Route 220.
According to Avis Fire Chief Randy Kehoe, the conflagration was declared under control about an hour into the battle, although volunteers remained on scene several hours to deal with hot spots and flare-ups.
Owner John Schultz, who opened his business early Friday at the normal hours, said it's going to take a bit of time to regroup and reorganize the business to work around the damage.
"It didn't hurt the main building," he said. "The burned structure, which contained molding and mill work, is insured ... I'm in a state of shock. It's a big portion of the business. We'll try to regroup and try to determine where to put stuff, but winter time complicates these things."
Schultz had nothing but praise for the efforts of the emergency crews.
"They did a fantastic job," he said. "There were so many fire companies there."
The state police fire marshal from Montoursville has been contacted, Kehoe said.