YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Bob Roth said he was sitting in his office at the Asphalt Solutions plant on Market Street Thursday afternoon when an employee said the back of the building near the break room was smoking.
Before he knew it, flames were shooting out of the building, which he rents. He managed to grab his laptop with important files on it and get out.
“We tried to get stuff out, but it was too much engulfed in smoke already,” employee Brian Summers said.
Thick, gray smoke poured out of the building for much of the afternoon and it could be seen for approximately 10 miles.
Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill said the fire department was able to get the flames under control enough so that some records could be saved from the building. Workers were only able to salvage one dump truck.
The business, which specializes in sealing and paving, was a total loss.
“I am not going to lie to you, quite depressing to see 15 years of hard work and labor sitting inside a building burnt to the ground,” Roth said.
He said the company plans to open on Friday from a remote location and when the paving season gets into full swing next month, he plans to be fully operational. The building is insured, Roth said.
Co-owner Justin Bishop said he was at home with his son when he got the call about the fire.
“My stomach kind of dropped. Took us 15 years to build to this point. The base is there. We know what we’re doing. We have done it before. We’ll be back,” Bishop said.
Numerous explosions could be heard at the scene, which O’Neill said was the dozen or so vehicles inside, as well as several propane tanks.
The fire started in the rear corner of the building, where an old house that has been vacant for 25 years abutted the building. The fire chief said the fire may have started in the house.
Youngstown Fire Capt. Gene Cook was hospitalized for a possible concussion after part of the roof fell on him. He was treated and released from the hospital.