Victory fire ruled “undetermined” in Kennett Square – Daily Local

KENNETT SQUARE – The cause of a fiery explosion that resulted in a two-alarm fire at the Victory Brewing Company building, which also houses luxury apartments, in the borough last January, the Chester County Fire Marshal ruled “undetermined”.

“The current county report says the cause of the fire is still classified as ‘undetermined’ due to the various insurance companies involved still determining ultimate liability for the fire that started in the underground wiring between the transformer and building, ”said Chief William Holdsworth of the Kennett Square Police Department.

No one was killed in the fire. No animal was injured either.

About 150 local and regional firefighters and emergency personnel responded to the scene, which occurred after sunset on January 25.

Kennett Fire Company was the main agency that responded. Fire relief companies included the Avondale Fire Company; Unionville Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company; Longwood Fire Company; Hockessin fire company; New Delaware Castle; West Grove Fire Company; Oxford Union Fire Company; Cochranville Fire Company; Ambulance Good Fellowship, West Chester; West Bradford Fire Company; Christiana Fire Company of Lancaster County; Concordville Fire Company of Delaware County; Chester County Emergency Services Department; Chester County Fire Marshal’s Office Communications Unit; Chester County Collapse Task Force; Valley Forge Fire Company; Fame Fire Company of West Chester; and the Lionville Fire Company.

“It appears that what really led to this fire and this explosion was an underground wiring conduit going from a transformer to the building,” Holdsworth said. “It was determined that there had been a failure in the wiring and the conduit leading to the building.”

The transformer is owned by PECO, formerly Philadelphia Electric Company, based in the city.

The fire had been burning for some time, Holdsworth said.

“What this allowed the smoke to flow from that duct into the building into a small space, an empty area, between the commercial first floor and the residential second floor,” Holdsworth said.

The void space involved was approximately 2 feet by 10 feet.

“Smoke has built up in this area,” Holdsworth said. “It was enough that this smoke could trigger the fire alarms in the building. “

The alarms notified tenants of the emergency and also triggered emergency responses from the Kennett Square Police Department and fire companies.

Everyone evacuated the building safely, along with their pets.

“When this wiring finally broke down, there was a power surge going from the transformer to the main meter in the actual building – which caused a spark – which then ignited the smoke that had collected in that empty space,” Holdsworth said. “And that’s what caused what was perceived to be the explosion.”

The explosion hit the first floor of the building, which houses Victory Brewing Co., and spread into residential space on the second floor, the police chief added.

Chester County Fire Marshal John Weer said the blaze started around 6:28 pm The explosion occurred a minute and a half later on January 25.

Holdsworth said there are many insurance companies involved at this point.

It remains to be seen who is responsible.

“This is where I think there are unanswered questions,” he said.

Stakeholders include PECO to the cabling manufacturer, for example.

“It’s definitely going to come down to litigation,” Holdsworth said, “between some of the insurance companies involved.”

He added that PECO is an important player in this area in terms of ultimate responsibility.

The first insurance claim went through the owner of the building, which is managed by a company called Magnolia.

“The building was built according to code. If it hadn’t been for a very well-constructed building and (thanks to) the code department’s inspections, it could have been much more serious, ”Weer said. “Kennett Square’s positive app is what made this success from top to bottom. “

The codes are the responsibility of public safety at Kennett Square, not a planning commission, which is more typical.

He has been Fire Marshal for Chester County since 2008 before being a Fire Investigator since 2001. He has been in the field for 35 years.

After the alarm went off, all residents followed the procedure out of the building, so that when the explosion occurred, no one was in the building.

Weer also praised the training of firefighters, rescue workers and police.

He said investigations into the fires usually took a long time.

“It’s very complex. It’s very scientific, ”Weer said.

The Chester County Fire Marshal and his office oversee incidents in the 73 municipalities covering Chesco.

He said explosions like the one in Victory are rare in a county of around 500,000 people.

In Chester County, the 9-1-1 communications center answers more than 300,000 calls per year, which equates to approximately 900 calls for help.

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