Fire damages Split Rail mill

BUCKHANNON — Fire heavily damaged a mill at West Virginia Split Rail early Wednesday morning.

The Buckhannon Fire Department, Warren District Volunteer Fire Department, Washington District Volunteer Fire Company, Adrian Volunteer Fire Department, Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department and Jane Lew Fire Department all responded, along with Upshur County EMS and the Buckhannon Police Department.

“When we arrived on scene, it was fully engulfed where the mill is,” BFD Captain J.B. Kimble said.

Firefighters mounted a defensive fire attack from the exterior only due to the type of building and amount of fire, according to Kimble.

Fighting a fire of this magnitude required a lot of water. Kimble said two water monitors/deluge guns were spraying 1,000 gallons a minute along with other hoses.

“We were probably putting over 1,500 gallons per minute on the fire,” Kimble said. “You don’t see that every day.”

The size of the fire also required a large amount of manpower.

“We left immediately with three guys on the engine, and that was a big help,” Kimble said. “We have two paid staff and a live-in college student right now, so that puts three on the scene very quickly, and then an additional five to seven minutes for more manpower to arrive.”

One issue in getting manpower from farther away was the winter weather.

“The roads were terrible last night,” he said.

Fighting the fire necessitated blocking off of the road in front of West Virginia Split Rail, as well as the railroad, which had hoses going across it.

Firefighters remained on scene about four hours but Kimble said the fire was under control in about 2 ½ hours.

“We monitored it and hit the hot spots,” he said.

The fire was not considered suspicious, but because of the amount of monetary loss, the W.Va.  State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to investigate. They too ruled it accidental.

The Buckhannon Fire Department responded to two other fires Wednesday. A mechanic truck caught on fire at the DOH building in Tennerton, burning the cab. Washington District VFC also responded to that fire, which happened around 10-10:30 a.m., according to Lt. Joey Baxa.

About an hour later, the BFD responded to a fire call at the Buckhannon Moose Lodge which turned out to be confined to the stove. The WDVFC and Warren District VFD were initially toned out along with Upshur County EMS.

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