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Fire destroys large building part of Hardwood Lumber Company in Middlefield Township

More than 20 local fire departments helped fight the flames for nearly 24 hours
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Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 10, 2023

MIDDLEFIELD TWP., Ohio — Nearly 24 hours after a fire broke out at a manufacturing company in Middlefield Township, crews remained on scene working to put out hot spots.

Derek Gingerich is a controller at Hardwood Lumber Company. It is a manufacturing company that started in 1958 as a lumber mill. They make moldings, countertops, stair parts and more. They work out of four individual buildings.

"The building that actually burnt, a lot of people would know as St. Nick Brush," he said. "It houses our sales office for our counter tops and our stairs. That was also our show room, our management office, and housed our door inventory."

Around 8 p.m. Thursday, Middlefield Township fire crews received a call about smoke on Station Road. When they arrived, Capt. Tony Yeropoli said crews entered the building but quickly realized they would have to exit.

"The conditions quickly deteriorated, the visibility and heat conditions," he said. "The fire broke through the roof and defensive strategy was declared and we called for extra resources."

Gingerich said he arrived around 11 p.m. and saw the huge flames ripping through the building's roof.

"It was pretty scary," he said. "The view that we got from the top of the hill, it definitely turned your stomach. All I saw was flames shooting out the front door of that office, and flames shooting through the roof and firefighters actively trying to defend our property."

Capt. Yeropoli said more than 20 other local departments helped them fight the fire, but the building is a total loss.

"We're working with the company here to do everything we can, to help them fulfill their orders that they already have in place in this building and get them back up to full production as soon as they can," he said.

Employees and civilians have also been helping out the company throughout the day with cleanup, food and support.

"We employ a lot of Amish, which is a very close-knit community, so it does have a detriment to the community," said Gingerich. "When something does happen, everybody comes here and they're ready to lend a helping hand."

Middlefield Township officials do not know what started the fire but said the state fire marshal will further investigate cause.

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