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Inferno destroys Clinton Township business

By Staff | Aug 24, 2010

BJ's Antique and Garden Center on Rt. 15 S. in Clinton Township turned into a heap of rubble after a damaging fire over the weekend.

MONTGOMERY – Extensive damage was done in a 6 a.m. inferno at BJ’s Garden & Antique Center, 5370 Route 15 in Clinton Township.

Although BJ’s business owner Jim Kondisko and property owner Ken Bashista had some insurance coverage, Clinton Township fire Chief Todd Winder estimates they lost a combined $250,000 in uninsured damages, which includes garden supplies, antique furniture and the building that stored much of the merchandise.

Damage was severe enough for Winder to render an ongoing investigation unnecessary. He said the fire’s cause is expected to remain undetermined.

“I’m not calling the state police fire marshal in,” he said.

Kondisko, who has sold gardening equipment and antiques for the past 20 years, said everything was in order at his antiques and garden shop when he closed and left around 7 p.m. Friday. The antique and garden shop was relocated to Rt. 15 in 1990 after a flood in their Montoursville location.

North and southbound Route 15 lanes were closed near the Clinton Township fire for more than five hours Saturday, which state police said temporarily caused drivers intending to travel about five miles north to the Little League Baseball World Series to use roadway detours.

Another fire was reported earlier at PPL in Washington Township at 775 PPL Road in Elimsport causing a $3,000 loss. PPL spokesman Don Stringfellow said temporary repairs to the company’s voltage transfer station will be permanently repaired later this week.

Stringfellow said there were no customer service disruptions from the fire that began in a malfunctioning air conditioner.

Flames spread only to some insulation and an exterior deck roof, where Ulrich said firefighters snuffed the embers.

No one was believed to be present when the fire began, as Stringfellow said employees only occasionally visit the station to make power service adjustments.