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Fire destroys building at Wolfe Dye and Bleach Works near Shoemakersville

Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:56:51 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 03 2014 03:52:00 PM EDT

Investigators are trying to pinpoint the cause of a fire that destroyed a building at a business in Berks County, causing an estimated loss of $3 million, state police said.


A fire that tore through a building at a fabric-dyeing company in Berks County Monday night has been ruled an accident.

The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. Monday at Wolfe Dye and Bleach Works, 25 Ridge Rd., in Perry Township.

A company supervisor said the building that burned specialized in finishing. So after fabric was dyed, they would apply finishes to make the fabrics softer or flame retardant.


The roof of the building collapsed as the first firefighters arrived on the scene, so they had to fight the flames from the outside, officials said.

The firefighters were able to bring the fire, which rose to two alarms, under control about an hour later.

No injuries were reported.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, the cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction.

The orange glow from the fire lit up the night sky for all in Shoemakersville to see as the building went up in flames. Firefighters from across the county rushed to the fire, but the flames spread too quickly.

"Two minutes after on location, the first building roof collapsed. It took about 40 mins to come under control," said Shoemakersville Fire Chief Dennis Wagner.

Wagner says firefighters fought the fire from the outside of the building.

"No injuries. Right now everything is exterior. We are not doing no overhaul from the inside due to firefighter safety. We are going to wait for the machinery to show up and assist us," said Wagner.

The company is still operating out of its other facilities. Police estimate the fire caused $3-million in damage.

Update (10/3/14):  Wolfe Dye and Bleach Works told 69 News it is now fully up and running with no impairments to its operations.