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Warehouse-office fire causes $3 million damage

A fire in a large Wehrle Drive warehouse-office building early Monday caused more than $3 million damage, mostly in smoke damage, but a fire-sprinkler system and quick response by Main-Transit firefighters kept the damage from being higher, Amherst fire officials said.

Volunteer firefighters responding to a 1:31 a.m. alarm at the Iful Distribution Center at 1955 Wehrle Drive found the one-story building filled with heavy smoke and discovered a fire in the rear warehouse. One activated fire sprinkler held the blaze in check, and firefighters quickly extinguished the remaining fire with hose lines.

Twenty-six Main-Transit firefighters then used high-powered exhaust fans to remove smoke from the huge warehouse and office building. Fire Chief James C. Lawida listed the cause as a malfunctioning electrical component in a shipping and receiving control area.

Fire officials estimated $50,000 damage to the structure and $3 million in smoke damage to the contents.

Iful, a division of the Advantage Cos., sells clothing and electronics to both wholesale and retail customers.

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