WILLIAMSPORT - A two-alarm fire last night destroyed Lycoming College's General Services Building on East Fourth Street, sending flames 20 to 30 feet into the air.
One city firefighter, whose identity was not available, was injured in the blaze when he reportedly was struck in the head with an unknown object. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, one officer said. He was taken by ambulance to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center.
"This was used for our Buildings and Grounds (Department). It had offices, all kinds of equipment, all kinds of materials. It's completely gone," Jerry Rashid, the school's director of college relations, said as he watched teams of firefighters battle the intense flames.
The fire at 137 E. Fourth St. was discovered about 9 p.m. by a member of the college's security staff, who was alerted by a fire alarm going off in the building, Rashid said. The security officer immediately called 911 when he saw smoke inside the structure, Rashid said.
Police arrived at the scene, seeing heavy smoke pouring from the building, which measured about 60-by-200 feet.
Firefighters advanced hoses into the structure, but within 20 minutes, everyone pulled out as flames erupted through the roof.
As the fire grew, so did the crowd of spectators, which swelled to several hundred students and other curious onlookers.
Rashid said it was too soon to estimate the financial loss to the college, but the Maintenance Department will certainly be crippled until it can replenish all its tools and equipment.
The bulk of the fire was under control by 10:30 p.m. Volunteer firefighters from Loyalsock Township, Old Lycoming Township, South Williamsport and Montoursville assisted in putting out the blaze.