Blaze destroys city warehouse

By Burton Speakman


The plan to have a sale at an East Side warehouse in August went up in smoke in May.

The warehouse on Cherry Street was a total loss after a fire Friday morning that continued burning much of the day.

The large fire caused billowing dark black smoke that could be seen for miles.

The fire department was called to Crivelli Auto Warehouse on Cherry near Wilson Avenue between 6 and 6:30 a.m., said John J. O’Neill Jr., city fire chief.

Orlando Crivelli, warehouse owner, said he had bought the building a few years ago with plans to sell old items in it on eBay.

“I was planning to have a warehouse sale in August,” Crivelli said.

It is not known at this time how the fire started, but it is believed to have begun in the northern part of the large warehouse , O’Neill said. The building contains three large rooms, and firefighters attempted to cut the fire off before it spread to other rooms.

“We were hindered by the materials inside the building,” the fire chief added.

Those materials included propane tanks and a significant amount of flammable material, he said.

The fire spread into the roofing materials, causing the roof to collapse, and firefighters were removed from the building, O’Neill said. “For about an hour to an hour and half we had all personnel on scene. We had called the surrounding cities to let them know” we may need assistance, he said.

By 9 a.m., enough firefighters had been able to leave the scene so the department could then return other units to cover the rest of the city, he said.

“There was just a lot of old stuff in the building,” Crivelli said.

It contained items such as old mower parts, auto motors, plumbing supplies and other materials, he said.

There were nearly 500 items listed on eBay from the warehouse, according to the eBay website.

Those were just a small portion of what was in the building, Crivelli said. He could not place a total value on the destroyed items.

Crivelli said he was last in the warehouse last week. One employee keeps track of the building, he added.

O’Neill said it was too early to know the cause of the fire or whether it was suspicious. There was no damage estimate available late Friday.

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