VIENNA - Matt Kleese said that although a fire destroyed a building at his family's business on Thursday, he was thankful no one was hurt.
He said he was also thankful that the blaze did not interfere with operations at Kleese Excavating.
"We were working before, during and after," he said. "Fortunately, we've been very busy and all of our trucks were on the road at the time."
Fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. at the business at the corner of Sodom Hutchings and Warren Sharon roads. As of late Thursday, a faulty refrigerator was being blamed.
The building, used primarily for storage, was fully engulfed when fire crews arrived. Early damages estimates are between $150,000 and $200,000.
"We had a lot of tools and some equipment in there. We lost a generator, some welders," Kleese said. "I'd say the buildings itself was built around 1940 and it wasn't really worth anything. The main loss came from what was inside."
Fire crews spent about five hours Thursday morning dousing flames and smoldering debris at Kleese Excavating in Vienna. Water was shuttled in to help douse the flames.
Photo by Virginia Shank
Kleese said one of the workers went into the building to get a battery charger and smelled something burning. He opened a refrigerator and flames started shooting from it. Those flames quickly spread to the shelves above the refrigerator.
Vienna fire Chief Richard Brannon said that the fire was not connected to an injection well on the property.
"In fact, I'd like to stress that," Brannon said. "The fire had nothing to do with the gas well. It was no where near it."
The injection well is several hundred yards away from the building and has a separate entrance, Kleese said.
Brannon said fire crews struggled with frigid temperatures, freezing hoses and a frozen fire hydrant they had to work around.
"We had some cold firefighters so we were just trying to do what we could to help them stay warm," he said. "We had to go farther up the road for second hydrant because when we got there we realized the closest hydrant across the road was frozen."
The Red Cross was at the scene and and HazMat set up rehabilitation tent.
Crews were on the scene about five hours. Water was shuttled in to help douse the flames.
Fire crews from Fowler, Brookfield, Liberty, Johnson, Kinsman, Orangeville and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station were among those at the scene.