Fire guts Dietz & Watson warehouse

The fire that destroyed a Dietz & Watson warehouse in Delanco still wasn't declared under control Monday afternoon, more than 24 hours after it broke out.

Because the fire began in the roof, the sprinkler system below was no help, while the rooftop solar panels created a risk of electrocution, so that hampered access by firefighters from above,  Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt told reporters at the scene.

An ankle problem suffered by a firefighter was the only reported injury, a county dispatch supervisor said. When the fire started, around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, only two security guards were inside the 266,000-square-foot distribution center on Coopertown Road. The facility had been closed for the holiday weekend.

Forty fire companies from at least five counties reportedly responded, and water had to be pumped from the Rancocas Creek, as well as brought in by tanker.

Some nearby roads were closed, but no area residents were evacuated, the supervisor said.

Dietz & Watson officials promised to keep employing the more than 100 people who worked at the center, and expected to be able to continue filling orders for its meat products, such as hot dogs, hams and cold cuts, directly from various processing plants, according to reports.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or