Owner, chief discuss Classic Pizza fire

·2 min read

Jun. 18—LARKSVILLE — Paul and Anne Reese were preparing for retirement and their children were going to open a new pizza restaurant in the former Vic-Mars building on Main Street, Edwardsville.

All those plans were put on hold after a fire ripped through the Reese's Classic Pizza on Route 11 in Larksville Wednesday night.

"We closed up about 9 p.m. and about an hour or more later we got a call that the building was on fire," Paul Reese said Thursday while visiting the site. "I don't know what's going to happen now. We don't even know if Sheetz will still go through with their plans."

Harry Hammel, spokesman for Sheetz, said: "There have been no changes to Sheetz plans at this site."

In the meantime, Reese, his wife and family must decide what their next move is. Paul Reese said he hopes his children open in the former Vic-Mars building and he said he and his wife will help them get started.

But looking at what's left of his business that opened in 1985 was emotional for Reese. He said a video system in the the one-story brick structure will be checked and sent to the Pennsylvania State Fire Marshal conducting the investigation to determine how the fire started.

Larksville Borough Fire Chief Mike Petriga was at the scene Thursday morning. He said when firefighters arrived around 11 p.m, Wednesday, the building was engulfed in flames and the heat was intense.

Petriga said fire companies from Plymouth Borough, Courtdale, Edwardsville, Kingston and Hanover Township responded to the scene to help battle the fire.

Petriga said the fire was tapped out after midnight.

Wednesday night's fire came days after news broke that Altoona-based Sheetz, Inc. is planning to build a new store at 550 East Main St., Larksville.

"The buildings involved in the project — Classic Pizza, an empty building and a strip mall — on that lot will be demolished to make way for our store location," Sheetz spokesman Nick Ruffner told the Times Leader on Wednesday.

Because the store is still in the permitting process, Ruffner said it is too early to discuss construction/opening timing and other details.

Ruffner said the store will be more than 6,000 square feet, with the Sheetz newest store design, which he said includes many enhanced restaurant and convenience features.

"It will have the capability to fuel 12 vehicles at one time and will feature inside and outside seating," Ruffner said.

Jessica Ruddy, Community Relations Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said a Traffic Impact Study (TIS) was approved on Feb. 26, while the Highway Occupancy Permit is progressing through review cycles.

According to Alison Pevec, district permit manager for PennDOT, the applicant will provide signal equipment upgrades, as necessary, to accommodate the proposed improvements. The project must conform to all PennDOT regulations and policies, she added.

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