HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Borough Council received an update from Fire Marshal Dave Zeek and Manager Mark Schroyer Thursday night about the cleanup from a massive Feb. 27 fire.
Schroyer said that the 100 block of Allegheny Street, where the fire occurred, will likely remain blocked off until the end of next week. He said, though, that the borough will clear the way in front of Shan Nicole's, a local Irish pub, for St. Patrick's Day.
He said the process has been moving along relatively quickly because of the cooperation from the owner of the destroyed properties, Lacey Cunningham.
"We're doing the best we can with a difficult situation," Schroyer said.
Zeek gave the members of council a closer look at the fight against the fire. He said 16 fire companies were in the borough to help put out the blaze, but that didn't seem like quite enough.
The freezing conditions of that day, he said, required that firefighters be switched in and out of the front lines.
"We could have used about another 10 [companies] more," Zeek said.
The weather conditions posed other challenges for crews, he said.
"The minute you started to spray water, it was ice - instantly," he said.
A total of 300 emergency personnel were on scene, including firefighters, police, emergency medical and ambulance personnel and public works, Zeek said.
Zeek said Hollidaysburg is lucky that the fire occurred at the time of day that it did, about 4:30 p.m. If it had been in the middle of the night, he said, the damage would likely have been significantly greater.
Resident Paul Plummer, a member of the planning committee and former firefighter, echoed the sentiment.
"We're lucky we didn't lose the whole damn town," he said.
In response to this, and to prevent major damage at night, Councilman Joseph Dodson asked the council to consider replacing or repairing the old fire whistle, which would alert residents in the case of a fire late at night.
Dodson said that local business owners contacted both he and Zeek about the possibility and were willing to work toward raising money for the repairs. Zeek said he "strongly supports" replacing the whistle.
"We're very fortunate that no lives were lost," Dodson said.
Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.