Fire destroys Skyline Paintball storage, office space

Strasburg Fire Department Chief Jeff Wharton walks out of the charred remains of the Skyline Paintball building on Thursday. Firefighters were called out early Thursday and again that afternoon to douse fires that had rekindled. Rich Cooley/Daily
Strasburg firefighters mop up the smoldering remains of this building at Skyline Paintball on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily
Strasburg firefighters knock down the remains of this building at Skyline Paintball on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily
Strasburg firefighters stand outside the charred remains of Skyline Paintball building on Thursday afternoon. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — A structure fire that erupted early Thursday morning destroyed storage and office space at Skyline Paintball.

Gary Yew, chief of Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue, said that the Strasburg Police Department was dispatched at 12:39 a.m. Thursday to the business located at 363 Radio Station Road when a motion alarm inside the building was tripped.

“It didn’t come in as a fire alarm,” Yew said. “It came in as a motion alarm, as if someone perhaps was inside the building.”

Once the Strasburg dispatch center learned of the fire, Yew said fire and rescue services were notified. They arrived at the scene less than 10 minutes later.

Upon arrival, Yew said the first engine on the scene from Strasburg Fire and Rescue discovered that the fire had fully engulfed the building.

“It was a two-story building, and the entire building (was) involved, along with some exposures,” Yew said, noting that the building owners had shipping containers on-site that were used for storage.

He added that the storage units and a small amount of nearby brush were also burning when crews arrived.

Yew said that crews were able to get the fire under control within 45 minutes of arrival. The last crew member did not leave the scene until around 3 a.m.

The fire then rekindled in spots on Thursday afternoon. Rob Scott, firefighter with Strasburg Fire and Rescue, said that a rekindling is pretty common for a structure fire like this.

“I’m surprised we weren’t out here sooner,” Scott said, as county and town crews worked to cool the smoldering building with class-A foaming agent.

Yew said, “The owner had quite a bit stored there to support his business. So, it’s not uncommon sometimes for fires to rekindle, because it’s just so difficult to be confident that you got all of the dead-seeded fire on the original dispatch.”

Response to the rekindling was also relatively swift because Strasburg and Shenandoah already had crews in the area responding to a call at Mercury Paper.

“They had some rolls of paper within the facility that were … actively smoldering. The plant management was pretty confident that they could remove those rolls of paper without a problem,” Yew said.

Scott said crews were able to extinguish the flames from the rekindled fires within 10 minutes.

Yew said crews from Strasburg, Toms Brook, Star Tannery, Middletown and Shenandoah County responded to the initial dispatch Thursday morning.

He noted the property is not connected to the town’s water system, so crews had to shuttle water back and forth from a hydrant located at Mercury Paper.

Yew said the cause of the fire is unknown, and that the case is under investigation by Fire Marshal David Ferguson.

Ferguson said, “At this point in time, we don’t have any evidence that points to it being a set fire.”

However, he added, “We’re still conducting an investigation just to rule out it being a possible set fire.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or

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