PANDORA — A Wednesday afternoon blaze that caused thousands of dollars in damage to Pandora business remains under investigation by state fire marshals Thursday.
Several area fire departments were dispatched shortly after 5 p.m. to 501 Basinger Road in Pandora to battle what was described by fire personnel as a four-alarm blaze at GreenLine Polymers/Advanced Drainage Systems. No injuries were reported.
Chief Jason Kinsinger of the Riley/Pandora Fire Department said firefighters were greeted by “flames extending through the roof and heavy smoke” upon arrival. He said the blaze was under control some 30 minutes later.
Basinger Road was closed for several hours as firefighters from Riley, Pandora, Columbus Grove, Gilboa and Bluffton battled the fire.
Kinsinger said three employees were in the shredding portion of the structure when the blaze broke out. He credited training exercises that all employees at the plant have undergone as a key to keeping the loss to a minimum. “All the employees knew what to do and where to go,” he said. “Plant Manager Ryan Kraut deserves a lot of the credit. He made sure everyone was safe,” said Kinsinger.
The fire chief said his department has made numerous visits to the Pandora ADS site at Kraut’s invitation.
“(Kraut) has us in there all the time to do walk-throughs,” said Kinsinger. “And that’s what saved the building. We know the layout of the building, and that was invaluable.”
Kelly Stincer, public information officer with the state fire marshal’s office, said Thursday that a state investigator at the scene Thursday determined that the fire was not suspicious in nature. While the exact cause of the blaze was officially called “undetermined,” Stincer said the investigator believes the source of the fire to be friction that started atop a plastic shredder at the factory.
While no employees were injured in the fire, there reportedly was significant damage to some heavy equipment inside the structure. A grinder with an estimated price tag of $150,000 suffered extensive damage, according to reports.