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Massive Overnight Fire Wipes Out Mason County Sawmill

A massive overnight fire took out a major sawmill in Mason County.

The call came in shortly after midnight Tuesday morning and by the time anybody noticed, McCormick Sawmill was engulfed in flames and beyond saving.

“All of a sudden I saw a huge ball of flames,” says Mike Windemuller, a neighbor of the sawmill.

Windemuller was working in his field until 11:30 and didn’t see a thing. Forty-five minutes later he saw the flames from his home a quarter of a mile from McCormick Sawmill near Fountain. His wife called 911 right away but it already seemed too late.

“When we got there it was completely involved and by the time we got it knocked down and spread out there wasn’t much left,” says Jeremy Goble, the Fountain Area Assistant Fire Chief.

“There was nothing anybody could’ve done at that point in time,” says Windemuller, “The flames were 50 feet high and it was a bad scene.”

“Once it goes, it can ignite really quickly,” says Goble, “We had multiple explosions inside, a lot of hydraulic drums and acetylene tanks.”

The massive building held the main sawing operation. The lumber and sawdust just fueled one of the biggest fires they’ve seen in the area.

“We pumped about 110,000 gallons of water to suppress the fire last night and another 3,000 this morning,” says Goble.

Goble says the new owners of the company have pumped millions of dollars into the sawmill over the last few years but maybe the most devastating loss is going to be opportunity going forward. Dozens of people from the area work in the sawmill. When they showed up to work this morning they were met with the devastation.

“You just think about all the ramifications of losing a structure like that,” says Windemuller, “It affects the community a lot.”

Nobody was on the grounds at the time of the fire or hurt in the fight. The cause and total cost are unknown at this time but the department will keep a close eye on the ruins to avoid anymore flare ups.

“We may have to go back and hit that one more time,” says Goble, “But I think we’re pretty good on the rest of the building.”