BEAR LAKE, Pa. - A lack of water sources hampered firefighters as they battled a massive fire Thursday night at Precision Precut Material LLC.
In all, 22 fire companies from New York and Pennsylvania were dispatched to the blaze.
Around 9 p.m., Thursday, Bear Lake firemen were alerted to smoke coming from the roof of the 1564 Greeley St. business. Fire then quickly spread through the building.
Pictured at right, Tim Holthouse, owner of Precision Precut Material LLC, stands in front of his Bear Lake, Pa. business that burned Thursday night.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
"Hands down this is one of the worst fires I have ever been around," said Tom Woodin, fire captain for the Bear Lake Fire Department, who stuck around the scene Friday afternoon.
"The problem was we had no water," he continued. "We had to call everyone in; it was a mess down here."
With no fire hydrants in the area, officials were forced to call in surrounding fire departments for their water supply. Woodin estimates that half a million gallons of water were brought in for the fire.
"It was that big, certainly one of the biggest this area has seen," he said.
Tim Holthouse, owner of Precision Precut Material, said the fire has halted business, which includes pallet manufacturing and wholesale lumber distribution.
"It's going to hurt us. It's going to hurt the customers," said Holthouse, who has been running the Bear Lake business for the last decade. "Now we just have to wait and see what happens. I don't know what I am going to do."
With business picking up this time of year, Holthouse said he may have to find a new location to resume operation. That may mean moving to another state.
"We might have to (move)," he said. "I don't want to, but we might have to. I have loved this place; it's been good to us."
Fire companies from Pennsylvania that responded include: Bear Lake, Wrightsville, Sugargrove, Lander, Russell, Youngsville, Columbus, Corry, Elgin-Beaver Dam and Spartansburg.
Fire departments from New York that assisted in dousing the fire include: Panama, Sherman, Clymer, Findley Lake, Ashville, Chautauqua, Busti, Kiantone, Frewsburg, Bemus Point, Ellery Center and Lakewood.
According to Woodin, firemen were on the scene for approximately four hours battling the stubborn blaze.
No injuries were reported, while phone service in the area remained out as of Friday afternoon.
PennDOT has closed off portions of Greeley Street.