Loading dock explosion sends three to hospital

By Joe Beck

A fire at the Sysco food distribution center at 1000 Baugh St. in Front Royal sent three people to the hospital with minor injuries Tuesday night.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said in a news release the fire started with the explosion of a refrigerated trailer on a loading dock around 10:20 p.m.

Fire crews managed to contain the fire and limit damage to the 20,000 square foot building to interior smoke and some burned outside surfaces.

“That will have to be repaired, but the building is generally a concrete building,” Mabie said in an interview Wednesday.

He estimated the damage could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mabie said the first firefighters to arrive at the scene at 10:28 p.m. reported flames throughout the loading dock and probably reaching into the building. Other crews checking the interior found it filled with smoke and minor parts of the fire extending into the building.

Mabie said firefighters from Shenandoah and Frederick counties joined those from Warren to bring the fire under control by 11 p.m. Mabie said loading dock employees helped suppress the fire with several extinguishers at the rear of the opening to the loading dock.

Mabie said Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico ruled the cause of the fire accidental.

“I can tell you the fire marshal is looking at the refrigeration unit on the trailer,” Mabie said of the fire’s source. “He does think it started in or around the refrigeration unit attached to the front of the trailer.”

The injured included one firefighter with leg bruises, another with bruising to the hand and a Sysco employee who suffered smoke inhalation. All were taken to Warren Memorial Hospital where they were treated and released.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com