Firefighters returned to the former Right-Way Academy in Morgan Township for the fourth time in as many days after an adjoining building at the defunct youth campus was damaged during an apparent rekindled fire Thursday morning.
Jefferson firefighters responded about 11 a.m. to a small rekindled fire near the roof of an adjoining building to the dormitory at 112 Academy Way that was destroyed by fire late Sunday night.
Dave Taylor, the assistant fire chief for Jefferson, said the reason the fire keeps rekindling is because firefighters have had limited access to the hot spots because of the way the original building collapsed.
“The way it collapsed, you have to get underneath it, but it’s not safe to be in it the way it’s leaning,” he said Thursday.
The assistant chief also said they had trouble during the initial fire because they couldn’t get through the property gates and the fire hydrants were turned off. He said they’ve been using their tanker truck and making runs back to the road to fill up at working hydrants.
Taylor said they were going to try to make sure all the hot spots were extinguished Thursday to eliminate the possibility of further rekindles.
“We’re not coming back here after today,” Taylor said.
The state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire and has asked anyone with information to contact the Washington barracks at 724-223-2093. A state trooper at the scene Thursday said they plan to monitor the site during the investigation.
The campus was originally built as a youth development center, and later became a minimum-security prison for women, and then later for men. Right-Way Academy used it until the organization closed in August 2007, and it has been unoccupied ever since.