Yoder Dowel & Molding burst into flames around 3:20 p.m., the fire beginning in the dust bin and raging through the large steel building until little remained.
Roy Yoder, owner of the TR 613 company located in Salt Creek Township near Mt. Hope, said the blaze spread so quickly there was little firefighters could do to stop it.
Yoder noticed the smoke and came running from his house, located several hundred yards away from the business. He said he initially saw flames in the back, and by the time he got to the structure, flames had already crept all the way along the roof around to the front of the building.
“There was 25 years of dust buildup in there, and it spread in a hurry,” said Yoder. “As soon as I saw it I called 9-1-1 and told her she better get all kinds of fire trucks out here because it was going to be serious. I knew it was going to spread like it did.”
Yoder said that he initially tried getting the tow motor out, but the fire was moving too fast.
Fredericksburg Captain Dave Yoder was one of the first firefighters on the scene, and he said that because of the nature of the business, with so much flammable product involved in the pole building structure, it didn’t take long to spread.
“We believe it started in the dust bin, and with all of that fine dust and all the steel, it makes it awfully tough to stop it,” said Captain Yoder. “At one point we thought we had it knocked down, but it just exploded again and kept going. I was one of the first people on the scene, and by the time we were able to get equipment here it had already spread quite a bit.”
Departments from Fredericksburg, Wooster Township, Paint Township, Berlin, East Union, Holmesville, Kidron, Orrville and Mt. Eaton responded to the fire.
Firefighters battled the blaze from all four directions, in addition to utilizing East Holmes Tower 8, which helped diminish the fire from the towering ladder truck. While much of the structure was lost to the fire, firefighters were able to save the southern portion of the building, which contained close to $250,000 worth of materials and equipment.
Even amidst the destruction, there was plenty of compassion shown for the Yoder family and the firefighters, with neighbors and church members of the Yoder family bringing meals in the evening as firefighters continued to knock down hot spots.
For Yoder, the devastation comes with great loss, but he said that what is done is done, and now the rebuilding project will begin.
“I’ve been here 25 years, and we will begin again as soon as possible,” said Yoder. “I am a builder, even now I am thinking about the process of rebuilding my business.”
Published: May 13, 2012