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NJ: Sparta Train Station Destroyed in Electrical Fire

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Sparta, NJ: The electrical fire that destroyed the historic, 130-year-old Sparta Train Station has been determined to be “not suspicious.”  Investigators have determined that an electrical panel box located on the outside of the building was a contributing factor, according to Sparta Police Sgt. John-Paul Beebe.

The joint investigation is being conducted by Sparta police Detective Sgt. John Schanstra and Detective Jason Garrigan of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit.  The fire was reported at 3:49 a.m. on Sept. 3 by a motorist who saw the flames while traveling north on Route 15, police said. Sparta police were at the station within three minutes of the call, but by then the building was already engulfed in flames.

Firefighters from the Sparta and Ogdensburg fire departments battled the blaze for approximately an hour and a half before finally clearing from the scene at 7:20 a.m., police said.  Built by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway in 1882, the Sparta station served numerous dairy farms and Sparta’s Ideal Creamery Co. Sparta’s mail was delivered by train to the station, as was everything from coal and ice to cement, according to Beebe.

The station was the last of the 15 stations that were built by the railway in Sussex County. Its water tank, which was not affected by the fire, is the only one left in the county and one of the few left in the state, Beebe said.

The area in which the train station was located has been going through a rebirth after years of neglect, according to Beebe, who said the adjacent property was part of the A.O. Polymer Superfund site that was sold by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Station Holdings on Feb. 19, 2009. This property now houses the new Sparta Police Athletic League building, Beebe said.

The train station, which also is owned by Station Holdings, was currently being renovated and had just gotten a new roof, and other repairs were under way, Beebe said.

Story via DailyRecord.com

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