UPDATE: Fire Marshall called in to investigate Plymouth factory fire
PLYMOUTH, Ind. -- It is the biggest fire Plymouth has ever seen and over the weekend it leveled an historic factory that has been an economic staple in the town since 1883 .
Just after 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, flames and smoke not only destroyed the entire factory, but also caused several families living in nearby homes to evacuate. Now, as the smoke settles, the big question on everyone’s mind is what caused the blaze.
The Plymouth Fire Chief Rod Miller says the reason the fire was so destructive had a lot to do with how old the building was, along with the fact that it was made entirely of wood and cinder block.
The walls still standing are nothing more than the shell of what use to be a thriving factory. All that is left are piles of burnt rubble, still smoldering from the powerful flames that ate its way through the entire factory – a factory that employed over 300 people at one time.
"That was the livelihood of early settlers here in Plymouth in that day," says Miller. That is why the factory, which was now only being used as a storage facility for a local company, still holds a sentimental value for many in community.
Shirley DeBow, a former employee at the factory, came to the factory today and saw the damage up close for the first time since it happened. "It’s a big lost to me because I put 30 years in here and it’s just terrible," says DeBow.
She was not the only one out today surveying the damage. The Fire Marshall has been called in to investigate what caused the fire. "Tomorrow morning we will start with the team to dig that out, to get the excavators in to remove some of the rubble".
Investigators say they will be focusing on the West side of the building, where they believe the fire started. However, the piles of cinder block throughout the factory are up to four feet deep in some places, which makes things more difficult for the investigators who will sift through the rubble.
Chief Miller says find the cause amongst the rubble will be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.