A fire in Bear Lake destroyed a large local business Thursday evening.
Tom Woodin, Bear Lake Volunteer Fire Department captain, said the call came in around 9 p.m. After arriving on the scene at Precision Precut Material on Greeley Street, the equipment did not go back into service until about 1 p.m. Friday.
Responders from Pennsylvania included Bear Lake, Wrightsville, Sugar Grove, Lander, Russell, Youngsville, Columbus, Corry, Elgin Beaverdam and Spartansburg who provided fire police. From New York, Woodin said responders included Panama, Clymer, Sherman, Findley Lake, Ashville, Chautauqua, Lakewood, Busti, Kiantone and Frewsburg.
Times Observer photo by Colin Kyler
A saw mill in Bear Lake was destroyed by fire on Thursday evening.
In addition, Woodin said several other departments in Warren, Chautauqua and Erie counties were on standby at the empty fire stations. During his career, the only worse fire he was involved with fighting happened at Berenfield Container in Clarendon.
Originally, the call came in as a sawmill fire. In total, Woodin said a half million gallons of water were pumped on the blaze.
One Youngsville firefighter informed Woodin that department's crew had to transport 27 loads of water to the fire. The telephone company had to cut wires, interrupting service in the area.
"As of now, the road is closed," Woodin said on Friday afternoon.
There were no injuries as a result of the fire or during the fighting of it. Also, Woodin said there were no evacuations needed.
According to Woodin, the lack of available water made the fire so difficult to fight. Another factor was the concrete and tile throughout the old building.
Holt House, owner of the business, said the fire started traveling up an elevator shaft. Although they lost some equipment, two out of three lifts can still be used.
If they find an air compressor, House said they could operate outside. Between eight and 10 employees work at the company.
When the last worker left around 6:30 p.m., House said there was nothing unusual. Now, they'll wait to see what happens with insurance.
A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation news release reported Greeley Street/Baccus Corners Road/Pine Valley Road (State Route 4007) is closed from the intersection with PA 957 in Columbus Township to the intersection with PA 958 in Freehold Township due to the fire. It was closed at 10:15 a.m. and originally expected to reopen by 3 p.m.
However, on Friday afternoon the estimate was changed to a Monday reopening. The structure may be unsafe, the release noted, and may need to be removed.