By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
DAMASCUS -- Witmer's Feed and Grain Inc. will rebuild its feed mill, which was destroyed by fire June 17.
Phyllis Porter, office manager of the company's main mill in Columbiana, said the company plans to construct a building that will house offices and a feed storage area. She said the new building will likely also include a feed grinding operation.
The fertilizer plant and grain storage facility at the Damascus site are operational, Porter said.
Loss estimate: Damascus Fire Chief John Bricker estimated the loss at $200,000. The building was insured.
Bricker has said the cause of the fire may never be known because the building was too unstable for firefighters to safely do a thorough investigation. He does not think the cause of the fire is suspicious.
The building was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, and it took about an hour to bring the blaze under control, Bricker said. The fire destroyed the main building of Witmer's facility along state Route 534, about two miles north of the Columbiana County line.
Firefighters respond: About 100 firefighters from 11 area departments were at the scene nearly eight hours, and Salem firefighters were on standby. Damascus firefighters returned Monday morning when the rubble rekindled.
Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion, one at Salem Community Hospital and the other by paramedics at the scene. A third was treated at the scene for scrapes and bruises when a portion of a wall fell on him.