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Fire erupts in Beaver County Airport hangar

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 6:45 a.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
A leased hangar at the Beaver County Airport was damaged by a fire overnight on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. At least 10 fire companies responded to the blaze, which started about 2:50 a.m.

A fire on Tuesday morning heavily damaged a hangar at the Beaver County Airport in Chippewa.

Airport manager Beth LaValle said a firewall stopped the flames from spreading from one half of the hangar to the other, saving two planes and several cars stored inside.

The building, with a metal exterior and a wood frame, was too dangerous to enter, so a cause of the fire hadn't been determined, said state police fire Marshal David Jungling. He put losses, including computers and a flight simulator, in excess of $100,000.

The fire did not affect airport operations, LaValle said. About 165 flights a day are scheduled at the airport, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

No injuries were reported.

The first reports of the fire came in about 2:50 a.m. from a Beaver County deputy sheriff who was patrolling the area, according to Beaver County emergency dispatchers.

More than eight fire companies brought the fire under control after several hours. Tankers had to be brought in to supplement hydrants because firefighters needed more water to douse the fire, authorities said. Operations wrapped up around 10:30 a.m.

The fire heavily damaged offices, including those for ACES Aviation, which provides flight instruction at the Community College of Beaver County. A statement on the company's web site said the offices are closed because of the fire. Company officials did not return messages.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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