Local Fire Departments Fight Fire at Market in Eau Claire

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Fire at Delisio's Market in Eau Claire.

Good Friday morning dawned in the hamlet of Eau Claire with an acrid smell of smoke in the air and a sense of sadness and loss. Thursday night, April 18th, the Eau Claire community witnessed the destruction of a landmark business to a devastating fire. The Delisio Market, formerly owned and operated by Gus Thompson for 31 years and before him by the Beatty family, engulfed and destroyed by flames. The building, almost 125 years old, was a general store, food market, and a community hub for generations.
The fire, according to assistant Eau Claire fire chief, Ryan Enscoe, started in the basement in the rear corner of the store facing Route 58 and tripped fire alarms just after 9 PM. The Eau Claire volunteer fire department was at the scene with in minutes. Firemen entered the building attempting to extinguish the rapidly spreading fire. Several times the firefighters were forced out of the building by the intense heat and thick choking smoke. The fire broke through the first floor into the main store and engulfed the structure. More local fire departments arrived and at one point there were over 100 firefighters from an estimated 25 fire departments from four counties battling the inferno. At approximately 10 PM flames could be seen shooting through the roof. The firefighters concentrated valiantly to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby businesses which included Auto Excellence complex, a warehouse building and directly behind the store a Century Link sub station. At about 10:30 PM the burning roof collapsed pushing a superheated pocket of air out into the street. The heat was so intense that it curled the siding of an apartment building across Route 58 and even ignited tree tops. Two of Emlenton’s Fire Department trucks, a ladder truck and a platform truck sustained radiant heat damage.
Firemen from Eau Claire, North Washington, and Marion Township were still on the scene Friday afternoon wetting smoldering debris and dosing stubborn lingering hot spots. Some of the firemen had been first responders and had remained on the scene through the night. Fire marshals from Butler County and the Pennsylvania State Police were also on the site in the afternoon probing the smoking rubble. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, Trooper David Jungling Deputy Fire Marshall from Troop D - Butler would only say the fire is “under investigation.” Trooper Jungling also commented he was impressed with the firemens’ efforts in saving the adjacent structures three of which were less than 20’ from the market. Though the firemen prevented the fire from damaging the Century Link building overhead Internet transmission cables running along poles outside the store along Route 58 were compromised, melted and burned. This resulted in the loss of Internet service to hundreds of line customers north, south and east of the fire. A Century Link spokesperson indicated the cable carried 900 pairs of connections needed to be replaced and repaired. Multiple Century Link crews and equipment were methodically working to restore service as soon as possible and were prepared to work into Saturday morning hours to restore service. Service was lost in Emlenton, Foxburg, St. Petersburg, North Washington and surrounding areas. Hopefully the lost service will be restored before Internet withdrawal sets in.
Owners of the Delisio’s Market, who are extended members of the Thompson family, were unavailable for comment regarding any rebuilding plans.

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