PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP — It's looking like rebuilding and repair efforts from a fierce fire at Greenville-Reynolds Development Corp. is going to take a chunk of time. A major stumbling block is removal of asbestos at one of the damaged buildings.
"Until that asbestos is cleaned up and removed there's not a whole lot that's going to happen until then," said Brad Gosser, executive director of the industrial complex.
A contractor is removing the nasty material. But best guess is the asbestos may not be cleared until late this month, possibly spilling into August, Gosser said.
On April 11 a roaring fire swept through a section of the industrial park that consumed 35,000 square feet of buildings with another 20,000 square feet damaged. More than 100 firefighters from 52 departments in Mercer, Lawrence, Crawford, Mahoning and Trumbull counties were credited for preventing further devastation at the site.
Although there are no records on the size of fires in Mercer County, the blaze was the largest in living memory, and possibly county history, in terms of resources used to quell it and total square feet under roof destroyed. Damage estimates are looking to be over $2 million.
Ruled an accident, the fire started in a wooden-framed industrial building owned by Greenville-Reynolds Industrial Development Corp. The building was used by Salem Tube Co. and burned to the ground.
The nonprofit development business is still working with its insurance company to determine the cost of repairs.
"We got a little money in advance but nothing is settled," Gosser said. He added it may not be until August that final figures are in for repair and building costs.
Getting electricity to one of the damaged buildings is looking to cost $51,000, Gosser said. All the wires, utility poles, transformers and other electrical equipment leading into the building were burned to a crisp in the fire.