Fire destroys gunsmith shop

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Fire destroyed this building that housed part of Jim Wiegand's gunsmith business in Warren Township on Tuesday morning. Personnel from 13 fire departments responded to the two-alarm blaze.

CLOVERDALE -- A two-alarm fire in Warren Township kept 13 area fire departments busy throughout Tuesday morning.

At 5:47 a.m., the Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 6821 South CR 250 East, a gunsmith shop owned by Jim Wiegand. It was quickly apparent they would need backup.

All told, 13 fire departments from three counties responded to the blaze, battling it from approximately 6 a.m. until around noon. Cloverdale returned along with the state fire marshal's office after 1 p.m. to battle a hot spot that flared up.

Using the Greencastle Fire Department's tower truck, Roachdale Fire Chief Mike Poole, left, and Madison Township Fire Chief Lee Price battle Tuesday morning's fire from above.

CTVFD chief Kerry Shepherd reported "heavy fire throughout the building" when his department arrived. They briefly tried to fight the blaze from inside the building, but backed the crews off as the fire spread.

He said factors such as the nature of the building and its contents complicated fighting the fire.

"It was a finished pole barn with several rooms on the second level, and that's what made it so hard to fight," Shepherd said.

Additionally, the nature of the business meant there was some ammunition in the building, causing concern about explosions. Shepherd said while there were a number of small explosions, there were none he would consider major explosions.

"It had potential to be a lot worse than what it was as far as the (safety of) firefighters go," Shepherd said.

The fire marshal's investigation revealed nothing suspicious about the fire.

"Everything is pointing toward the air conditioner, but we're going to let the insurance company get in there and check it out," Shepherd said.

He estimated the 40-feet by 48-feet structure to be a $150,000 loss, with the contents worth an additional $500,000.

Crews were able to save quite a few guns and other equipment.

Additional fire departments responding to the fire included Bainbridge, Grencastle, Fillmore, Floyd Township, Jefferson Township, Madison Township, Putnamville Correctional Facility, Reelsville and Roachdale from Putnam County; Cataract and Poland from Owen County; and A & A from Morgan County. Putnam County Sheriff's Department and Operation Life also assisted.

View 4 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Jim and Becky are old friends. Glad to see everyone is safe and there were no injuries. Hope the insurance covers the loss and they can get back on their feet soon.

    -- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Jun 22, 2011, at 3:52 AM
  • I'm so glad nobody was injured,and there was a lot of items that can't be replaced in your shop,but keep your chin up and hang tough i'm sure you'll come through alright,my prayers are with you all Jim,Becky,Dave,Tony and James,god bless.

    -- Posted by obeone on Wed, Jun 22, 2011, at 3:21 PM
  • why doesnt the fire chief have a helmet on

    -- Posted by proudemt on Wed, Jun 22, 2011, at 8:50 PM
  • Who knows why proudemt? I'm just glad everyone is safe.

    -- Posted by Meadow31 on Wed, Jun 22, 2011, at 9:15 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: