May 2nd, 2016
By Maria Miller
CONFLUENCE, Pa. – A gas station in a small Somerset County town was destroyed by fire early Monday morning.
Firefighters have been there most of the day, but they weren’t the only ones.
“One of my staff radioed that there was a fire over at Hartman’s gas station and that’s kind of when we all came from the office and checked what was going on,” Lisa Hall said.
Hall owns three businesses in town, including a cafe and hardware store right across the street from this service station.
“At that point, we just saw some smoke coming out and as it progressed it engulfed more of the building,” Hall said.
Since the fire was in a rural area and volunteer departments are stretched miles apart, it made the response time longer.
The local fire chief said the items inside Hartman’s Service Center and garage made the fight worse.
“It’s a combo of everything, with the paints , the welding, torches, cut torches, everything like that does make it hard to fight a fire like this,” said Tom Close Jr. of the Confluence Fire Department.
There’s another story that played out Monday morning that was seen beyond the flames – an entire community coming together to do whatever they could to pitch in and help.
“The businesses and the churches here really support us great when there’s something like this going on – they r
eally, really pitch in and help out,” Hall said. “It’s a whole community thing and they all look at it like that.
“Everyone in town works together. There’s 15 businesses that are repped here today. Whatever the firemen need, we get it to them.
“Just because they don’t wear turnout gear doesn’t mean they’re not helping.”
A fire truck responding to Monday’s fire, from Friendsville Fire Department in Garrett County, Maryland, went off the road and crashed into a pole.
Dispatch said no one was hurt, but the accident caused a brief power outage to some customers in that area.
As for the fire, there were no injuries. But a firefighter was taken to the hospital with high blood pressure.
The cause of the fire still is unclear, but it is not considered suspicious.
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