2009-01-22 / Front Page

WJAL Returns To The Air

Fire destroys building receiving transmissions; programming interrupted
STAFF REPORT

A small building receiving television transmissions for WJAL Family TV 68 erupted in flames last Wednesday evening atop Mercersburg mountain just off Route 16. The fire is under investigation by a fire marshal in hopes of determining the cause and origin of the blaze. A small building receiving television transmissions for WJAL Family TV 68 erupted in flames last Wednesday evening atop Mercersburg mountain just off Route 16. The fire is under investigation by a fire marshal in hopes of determining the cause and origin of the blaze. WJAL Family TV 68 has hit the air waves once again after transmission of their quality family programming was temporarily knocked off the air for almost a week as a result of a fire that broke out in a building receiving transmissions atop the Mercersburg mountain.

Last Wednesday evening, area fire officials were dispatched to Peters Township, Franklin County, for an automatic fire alarm emanating from a 20-foot-by-40- foot building responsible for receiving transmissions from a nearby WJAL tower.

Upon arriving at the scene immediately following the 5:45 p.m. dispatch, firefighters were unable to locate any blaze on site. No WJAL officials were on scene to allow access to the interior of the building, which did not reveal any visible exterior signs of a fire.

Approximately one hour later, firefighters were sent again to the scene after a representative from WJAL located a small fire on the property. Multiple fire extinguishers were utilized by the official to put out the blaze, but the fire had grown too rapidly and already reached the ceiling of the transmissions building.

Due to the icy and snowy conditions, firetrucks were reportedly unable to access the location. Additional tankers were dispatched, and firefighters collected water from both the Fulton and Franklin side of the mountain. A total of 1,400 feet of hose was laid to get the water from the trucks to the scene of the fire.

Meanwhile, traffic was rerouted onto Mountain Road, Route 75 and Route 30 while firefighters from a total of nine fire companies, including McConnellsburg, worked side-by-side to combat the blaze for three hours.

In spite of the efforts of the volunteer firefighters, the building was completely destroyed with only cinder block walls and rubble remaining to mark its original location. A fire marshal with the Pennsylvania State Police is reportedly investigating the fire to determine cause and origin.

According to WJAL's statement, the company is "an English language independent television station under the Entravision umbrella. Entravision Communications Corp. is a diversified Spanish-language media company utilizing a combination of television, radio and outdoor operations to reach approximately 70 percent of Hispanic consumers across the United States, as well as the border markets of Mexico."

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