The fire that burned a Newcomerstown factory to the ground last Sunday night and Monday was so intense that it continued to smoulder into the late Monday afternoon, said Shane Cartmill, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshals office.
From interviews with first responders, employees and witnesses, investigators, they were able to narrow down the point of origin, but are not releasing specific details until the investigation has been completed. The Division of State Fire Marshal, with three investigators assigned to the case, and the Newcomerstown Fire Department are conducting the investigation. The Newcomerstown Police Department is assisting.
The fire at Janesville Acoustics, described as massive and fast-moving, sparked flames as high as two stories, some witnesses reported. The fire came through the roof, which eventually collapsed.
"It was a large fire in the machine," said Newcomerstown Fire Chief Bobby McGarry. "It was just really hard to get to because of the type of material. We just couldn't catch up to it."
So massive was the fire that 15 fire departments from Tuscarawas and Guernsey counties responded.
Tanker trucks were even called in to assist in filling the three ladder trucks that were on scene, McGarry said. He said the trucks filled up with village water at the David Barber Civic Center and the BP gasoline station on Adena Drive. He said there just wasn't enough water available on Enterprise Drive.
Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries in the fire or during the battle to control it, Cartmill said. However, one Newcomerstown firefighter reportedly sustained a medical emergency at the scene. He was treated at Union Hospital and released.
Newcomerstown fire department spokeswoman Heather Wells said employees who were at work when the fire broke out were able to get out safely.
The company said its assessing the situation at the plant. However, smoke and water heavily damaged the office area of the facility. The company has called in meetings with employees to discuss the future of the company which broke ground Feb. 4, 2000.
"This is probably the biggest dollar-wise and building-wise fire I have fought," McGarry said. "It was just a bad day. I wish it didn't happen. This is the biggest fire Newcomerstown has ever had."
Janesville Acoustics is one of the worlds largest producers of acoustical and thermal fiber insulation, and a leading producer of automotive decorative trim and molded fiber products.
Approximately 100 people were employed at the facility that started production in Newcomerstown on Nov. 1, 2000.