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Electrical issue sparks fire that severely damages historic Pennsylvania building

KDKA-TV Afternoon Forecast (7/10)
KDKA-TV Afternoon Forecast (7/10) 03:16

An electrical malfunction in a ceiling fan sparked a fast-moving fire that severely damaged an historic market building in Pennsylvania's capital city early Monday, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the fire at the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg that was reported at about 1 a.m. but was brought under control a short time later. The site housed a stone building and a brick building that had stood for about 145 years, but the brick building was the only one damaged.

Speaking at a news conference held at the site late Monday afternoon, Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said investigators determined the fire started in the ceiling fan that was installed in 2017. He said the blaze has been ruled an accident.

Authorities said no one was in the building when the fire began. Part of that structure was destroyed, but city officials and Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said the building would be rebuilt and normal operations would continue in the stone building. Officials were also looking for a temporary site where vendors in the brick building could operate their businesses.

The site is believed to be the oldest continuously operated market house in the United States. Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams said "the heart of our community was torn apart" by the fire, but she said it will come back "bigger and better than ever." She and other officials credited city firefighters for their quick work that spared the stone building and also thanked numerous fire departments in the region that helped battle the blaze.

Harrisburg and other small cities scattered across central Pennsylvania have a long tradition of brick-and-mortar central market houses, where produce from local farms is alongside baked goods, prepared foods, artwork, craft beer and a variety of other things for sale. The Broad Street Market, about four blocks from the state Capitol, had in recent years bounced back from decay to become a thriving cultural and community spot.

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