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Blacksmith building catches fire

By Staff | Dec 7, 2012

Local residents looked on as the Shepherdstown Fire Department worked to extinguish a fire on South Princess Street Friday evening.

According Shepherdstown Fire Chief Ross Morgan, the department responded to a call at approximately 6:15 p.m., after a fire broke out at the Willow Forge Blacksmith

s shop located in the Frog Island Industrial Park, behind what was formerly the Southern States Hardware Store on Princess Street.

Robert Jenkins, a lifelong Shepherdstown resident, stood with a hand full of other residents to watch the firefighters work.

“That building’s been here many years,” he said of the Blacksmith shop.

Jenkins said he heard the call about the fire on his scanner around 6 p.m. and found the blaze was so high that it was visible from his German Street home.

“It was like the sky was on fire,” he said.

The Willow Forge Blacksmith shop is owned and operated by local resident Daniel Tokar.

Tokar, who was not in the building at the time of the fire, posted a message on the shop’s official web site following the incident.

He estimated at least $10,000 worth of damage was caused by the fire, but expressed relief that shop cats, Omar and Winston, were unharmed by the blaze.

When interviewed at the scene Friday, Chief Ross Morgan said the cause of the fire was unclear.

“Right now, we have no idea,” he said.

According to Shepherdstown Fire Department Captain Brian Fluharty the cause of the blaze was still under investigation by the state Fire Marshal earlier this week.

It took fire department responders less than a half an hour to fully put out the fire and begin clearing the area.

“We had it under control within fives minutes,” Chief Morgan said.

As a precautionary measure, Chief Morgan called in additional water tankers to the scene.

Fighter fighters from Sharpsburg, Boonsboro, Bakerton and Baker Heights all responded to the emergency, as well local Shepherdstown and university police department staff and other local emergency personnel.

A benefit is planned for Tokar on Dec. 30 from 5 p.m.-midnigt at the Train Station with a $10 minimum donation for admission.