General- Alarm, Chocolate Factory Fire in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

On March 16, 2005, at approximately 2pm, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Bureau of Fire fought a well involved structure fire at the production factory of Mieses Candy, a local chocolate manufacturer that has been in business for over 100 years.

The fire started in the ceiling shortly after 2pm, and quickly spread.

Employees in the building had no idea there was a fire until a neighbor alerted them of the flames. The building was located a very narrow street that hampered apparatus placement.

On arrival they were faced with heavy fire in the building, which eventually burned the gas service above the meter, creating a blow torch of flame.

Lancaster went to a General Alarm, bringing all of their on-duty personnel (3 engines and 2 trucks) and all off duty members plus an air unit from Lancaster Township and mutual aid engine and truck to fill in city stations.

It took approximately 40 minutes to find the street gas valve and then the valve was so old that it didn't shut the flow, so a crew of 5 firefighters took handlines inside the fire and manually closed the valve at the meter, finally extinguishing the blaze. Damage to the building and contents, fully loaded with chocolate for the upcoming Easter holiday, and was estimated to be over 2 Million dollars.

The cause was electrical.