FRANKLIN --Multiple agencies are on the scene of a fire that damaged a large building in the middle of downtown Franklin. The building at 1243 Liberty Street is home to the Verizon and Subway storefronts as well as a number of office spaces. Venango County Dispatch officials say the fire call went out at 12:00 noon exactly. Flames were seen shooting out of some of the the fifth floor offices.
"According to preliminary reports, the fifth floor is pretty well gutted. There's water and smoke on the adjoining sub-floors," Franklin City Fire Department Chief Jim Wetzel told Forever Broadcasting this afternoon.
The extent of damage to the remaining floors was not immediately clear. Firefighters had the fire under control within about an hour and a half, Wetzel said.
Franklin City Police evacuated the building and several neighboring structures.
Red Cross officials on the scene told us they were in the process of finding temporary lodging for six families displaced from a neighboring apartment building affected by smoke.
Dispatchers report fire departments from Franklin, Oil City, Seneca, Rocky Grove, Utica, and Reno were on the scene. Oakland, Sandycreek, and Cornplanter VFD's were on standby.
Other agencies summoned to the scene were the Venango EMA, Community Ambulance, Franklin Police, the Venango County Sheriff, Sugarcreek Police, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.
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