MADISON TOWNSHIP - A fire of undetermined origin Thursday afternoon destroyed the business offices of PWS Welding.
Chief Wayne Chamberlain of the West Point Volunteer Fire Department said flames were through the roof of the T-shaped business offices when he and seven other firefighters arrived at 14533 East Liverpool Road around 4:30 p.m. They had the fire under control in about an hour and prevented the fire from spreading to one of the welding shops about 30 feet away. There was some minor damage to siding on that building, the chief said.
Betty Caudill is the owner of the business. The office area is a total loss, and is insured, Chamberlain noted.
Morning Journal/Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert
West Point Fire Chief Wayne Chamberlain, right, speaks with one of his firefighters during a blaze at PWS Welding.
No injuries were reported. Chamberlain said one employee was working in the office when the fire broke out.
"She was working up front and didn't know it was burning back there," he said. "She didn't even know the building was on fire until someone went in and told her to get out. Then she was the one who called the fire department. She called us from her cell phone."
Chamberlain said he does not know what started the fire, but it started at the back of the building and was spread by the wind. The cause is still under investigation.
"The wind was blowing from where the fire was burning at the back toward the rest of the building, and that worked against us real big."
Chamberlain said fire crews were able to work from a hydrant in the area, and it had good pressure. Having plenty of water available without having to haul water made their job easier, he said.
Two Calcutta firefighters responded as did firefighters from Glenmoor. West Point firefighters had three trucks at the scene. Liverpool Township firefighters were on standby for West Point, Chamberlain said. "As always NorthStar and Tri-County (ambulance crews) stood by with us, and we appreciate that," he said.
Although firefighters had the blaze under control in about an hour, "We stayed for awhile to mop it up," Chamberlain said.
Crews returned to their stations around 7:45 p.m.