Fire rages through Lancaster Dispensing Company

Lancaster Dispensing Company has graced the Lancaster community since the '70s. Photo courtesy of LancasterOnline.

Peyton Powell
Staff Writer

In the early morning hours of September 28, a fire raged through a popular pub nicknamed “DipCo” in downtown Lancaster City. Lancaster Dispensing Company, a four story brick building located on 33-35 N. Market St. was damaged badly by the early morning fire.

The fire was discovered around 6a.m, when an employee came to the pub and smelled smoke. He then went to investigate what he was smelling, and according to the reports he “saw a puff of smoke from a fan above a kitchen door.” The employee then proceeded to open the outside door to go inside, where he then opened the door to the kitchen and saw flames. He then immediately called 911, and according to witnesses, firefighters started to arrive around 6:15a.m.

When fire crews arrived at the three-alarm fire, they found the fire raging in the kitchen area. According to City fire marshal Lt. Carl Everhart, he believes that the fire had started behind the interior door to what he thought to be a prep area, and the flames then quickly spread to the kitchen. The cause of the fire is still yet to be determined.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened, and the insurance company may conduct their own investigation as well. Fire crews were on the scene for another 3-4 hours after the flames were put out, to check the hot spots in the building to make sure nothing would reignite.

Neighboring buildings such as the Trust Performing Arts Center, were aired out due to the smoke getting inside their facilities. The opening night of the Trust Performing Arts Center performance of CHALACA was scheduled for that very same day, and according to its spokeswomen Jessica Pavelka, it continued as planned.

This three-alarm fire caused almost $400,000 worth of damage to the restaurant, with heavy damage to the kitchen area, and parts of the wooden bar, as well as extensive smoke damage throughout. All employees left a few hours prior to the fire being discovered so nobody was in the building at the time, and nobody was hurt. Even though the entire first floor is said to be destroyed, co-owners of Lancaster Dispensing Company, Bradley DeForge said that “we’ve been here for 40 years, and we’ll be back better than ever.”

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Dip Co is owned by Bradley DeForge, and Judy Ross since 1971, and may be months until the place that many call home will be reopened. DeForge said that the fire could have been worse than it was, and that “nobody was hurt. Things can be replaced.”

With the cost of rebuilding this popular destination for Lancaster residents looming over the owner’s heads, the community has been coming together to help raise funds to support them. On Saturday September 30, stands at the Lancaster Central Market placed jars for collecting spare change to help raise money. The side of the jars read “Our hearts are with them, and we hope yours will be as well.”

Many people in the community are looking forward to the reopening of this popular destination, even with DeForge’s promise of them “coming back and better than ever.” Until then, residents, and Dip Co enthusiast will have to enjoy their Taco Tuesdays somewhere else until the day this beloved place is finally reopened.