A smokey fire gutted a building in eastern Berks County drawing an all out response of firefighters from three counties. Firefighters said a fire caused half a million dollars worth of damage. The owner said he watched 35 years of work go up in flames.
Firefighters from Berks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties said when they arrived fire had fully engulfed the barn.
"There was really no way I could stop it," said Joe Perricone, the owner.
Around lunch time Wednesday an antique restorer said he was polishing aluminum when the fire started.
"The furnace, the furnace went up. It had gotten an oil leak. I turned around and it was on fire and I saw oil, a puddle of oil around the furnace," said Perricone, "And it just went up."
Perricone said he tried to put it out, but didn't have the right tools.
"I'm lucky. I got out and I'm lucky. I got that nice Rolls Royce out," said Perricone, "And that was good enough for me."
Firefighters said because of the fire's location they had to truck in the water with tankers. And it wasn't an easy task to get it under control.
"It was difficult due to the fact the roof had collapsed early, which made it harder to access the scene of the fire," explained Hereford Fire Chief Josh Borowski.
But eventually they were able to get it under control.
"It's a complete loss," said Borowski, "I'm estimating values of the property inside to be about $500,000.
"Sure looks gone to me," said Perricone.
The owner said his home is still standing. But watching everything else be destroyed was devastating.
"It destroyed the entire building," said Perricone, "My whole hobby in life and everything I've worked with for the last 35 years--gone."