Lumber company destroyed by overnight fire

Lumber company destroyed by overnight fire
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

HOXIE, AR (KAIT) - Crews in Lawrence County battled an overnight fire at a lumber company.

The Hoxie Fire Department was called to the Hoxie Lumber Company off of Highway 63B around 11:15 p.m. Monday. The Walnut Ridge Fire Department was later called in to assist.

Hoxie Fire Chief Chris Ditto says the front building was fully involved by the time crews arrived.

The fire then spread quickly throughout the entire building, partially because of the products inside the business.

"The materials don't make it easy," Ditto said. "You've got a complete store full of paints and paint thinners and stuff like that, so it just makes it bad."

Crews actively battled the blaze for about 7 hours before deciding to protect the surrounding structures and let it burn itself out.

They used nearly 350,000 gallons of water at that point.

"In an all metal building it's hard to get access inside," Ditto said. "The metal frame, the roof, had done fell and it just makes it hard to go inside and attack the fire. There is hardly any windows to the entire structure. We had two bay doors, shop doors, that we had to cut our way into so we could access the back side of the fire."

The structure is a total loss.

Arkansas State Police was requested to help investigate the cause of the fire.

"The investigation is just starting," Ditto said. "It will be a few days before it cools down."

Ditto requested ASP to assist his department because it is a multi-million dollar loss. He did not speculate about whether the fire could have been intentionally set or not.

Crews cleared the scene 12 hours later, around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The back storage facility, which was filled from the floor to the ceiling with lumber, was still burning Tuesday afternoon.

Ditto said the large amount of wood would likely continue burning for several days, but it is not in danger of spreading.

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