Fire strikes Martinsburg laundromat
Family displaced by fire
November 7, 2019
Fire struck the Martinsburg laundromat Sunday night, causing significant damage to the laundry area and displacing a family from the second-floor apartment.
No one was injured in the fire. The family living upstairs was not home at the time.
Fire officials said the fire likely started in a dryer. A laundromat customer put a load of laundry in the dryer, started it and then left the laundromat, intending to return shortly. In the meantime, the dryer apparently malfunctioned and sparked a fire which reached the ceiling. As no one was in the laundromat at the time, the fire apparently took hold in the ceiling and began to spread.
Rich Brantner Jr., Martinsburg borough manager and assistant fire chief of Station 80, the Martinsburg Volunteer Fire Co., was driving by the laundromat around 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10, and noticed smoke in the air. He stopped to investigate and realized that the laundromat was on fire. He called in the alarm and fire crews were dispatched at 8:35 p.m. for a commercial building fire at 109 S. Market St. Crews from Martinsburg, Roaring Spring, Williamsburg and Freedom Township responded, as did the Martinsburg borough police and the Hollidaysburg ambulance service.
Crews were informed that there might be a family on the second floor, so as the building filled with smoke, firefighters in breathing apparatus entered the second-floor apartment by the front staircase and from windows accessed from a low roof at the rear of the building. No one was present in the apartment and it was later determined that the family was not home at the time of the fire.
There was significant damage to the front laundry area, including a hole in the ceiling, extending up to the child's bedroom on the second floor. Walls, ceiling and laundry machines were damaged. Damage to the apartment was extensive.
Allan J. Bassler, publisher of the Morrisons Cove Herald, owns the laundromat with his wife, Karen. Allan Bassler said that the building was insured and that plans are to rebuild and reopen the laundromat.
Bassler thanked the fire crews and the community for support and prayers. Bassler offered a special thank-you to firefighters for their quick and effective response and for making a special effort to recover some of the family's personal items from the fire-damaged apartment.
The Martinsburg laundromat is closed until repairs can be completed. The Basslers asked that laundromat customers please consider using the Roaring Spring laundromat, which is located in downtown Roaring Spring at 705 Girard Street, behind the public library.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church is accepting donations to help the family displaced by the fire. Those interested in helping are asked to send donations to the church at 115 E. Penn St., Martinsburg 16662. Please put "Martinsburg fire" in the subject line.