Fire destroys Elida cabinet shop

July 2, 2013

LIMA — The State Fire Marshal was investigating a fire that destroyed an Elida cabinet shop Tuesday.

The State Fire Marshal sent three investigators to the fire at A C A Millworks at 216 S. Greenlawn Ave., just off Dutch Hollow Road. The fire was reported just after 4 a.m.

By the time firefighters arrived, most of the front of the building, which is 60 feet wide, was engulfed in flames, said Chief Tom Hadding of the American Township Fire Department.

Firefighters called for help and began the fight. At the peak of the effort, there were 60 firefighters from five departments on hand battling it, he said.

“As it went through the fire kept progressing and we couldn’t cut it off,” he said.

The hope was to stop it from spreading to the whole building, which was 300 feet long, but the fire was too intense. Firefighters had to be cautious because cabinet shops often have flammable liquids, such as lacquer, used in the finishing process, Hadding said.

There were several explosions that turned out to be propane tanks on fork lifts blowing up because of the fire, he said.

The fire took 90 minutes to get under control, Hadding said.

No one was inside at the time of the fire and the only injury was to a Bath Township firefighter who stepped on a nail. He was taken to the hospital, Hadding said.

The front of the building where the fire started is where the finishing of the cabinets are done and where some of the most flammable products are located, Hadding said.

The building was leveled with metal peeled back. Some woodworking machines were visible on what once was the shop floor. Drying racks to stack cabinet doors during the process of topcoating were just outside at the front of the building.

Hadding said it may be some time, if at all, before a cause is determined.

“We’re just starting to investigate,” he said.

The State Fire Marshal will be the lead investigator in the fire and American Township will help, Hadding said.

Hadding expected firefighters to be at the scene all day and likely will have to return on Wednesday for hotspots.

Hadding expects the loss to be several hundred thousand dollars.

The building was set up to have the workflow start in the back with the finished product going out the front door to customers’ homes. There was no showroom at the facility.

Hadding was unsure how long the cabinet shop had been in business and did not know how many employees it had.

The owners, who were at the scene, declined to make a statement.