A blaze that consumed a warehouse belonging to antique architectural salvage company Olde Good Things in Scranton, PA does not appear to be suspicious, and started in the basement, according to Scranton Fire Inspector James Lunney. The investigation, however, is ongoing.
Fire swept through the building, formerly known as the Ukranian Bingo Hall before Olde Good Things bought the building in early 2007, on Tuesday night, Dec. 11. It is one of three buildings in Scranton that the company owns, according to its Website.
The fire started at about 6:30 p.m. in the building at the intersection North Ninth and West Lackawanna Avenues. The Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly afterwards to find the building engulfed in smoke. The fire quickly spread through the entire building and could be seen glowing throughout the town. The fire, according to reports from the scene, was burning so intensely at one point that firefighters had to stay back and let it burn off some of the fuel that was feeding it, namely the architectural antiques inside the building. The fight was not helped by the bitterly cold and windy early December weather sweeping across Pennsylvania.
Once the flames were approachable, there was no thought of trying to save the building or its contents – the damage was already done. An approach known as “surround and drown” was used simply to flood the building and douse the flames.
The company had only recently starting moving inventory into the building. Besides the three buildings in Scranton, Olde Good Things has warehouses in Manhattan and Los Angeles.
While not available for comment for this article, Olde Good Things, Inc. released a statement to the press that said, in part, “We at Olde Good Things are very thankful to Jesus that none of the employees, firemen or neighbors were hurt in the warehouse fire, and that there was no damage to our neighbors’ property."
It should be noted that the ownership of Olde Good Things, Inc. has been linked in published reports to a controversial religious organization known as the Church of Bible Understanding, which – in the 1970s, and several times since – has been accused of being a cult.
The company offered no statement on this purported tie in its press release. It has in the past, however, said that it is a Christian evangelical fellowship and not a cult, despite its controversial interpretation of the bible.
The estimate on damages to the property and the inventory was not available as this paper went to press.