ShareThis Page
Parks Township sawmill consumed by fire |

Parks Township sawmill consumed by fire

| Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:00 a.m

Burning garbage trigged a brush fire that consumed a saw mill off Upper Mateer Road in Parks Wednesday afternoon.

No one was injured, but Dennis Keim’s uninsured business was destroyed.

Keim said his 19-year-old son was supposed to prepare trash to be burned once it rained. Instead, Keim said his son started burning Wednesday afternoon while Keim was away.

“I was heading out of Vandergrift when the fire truck passed me,” Keim said as he watched firefighters douse the remaining hot spots in his leveled building.

“I saw the smoke and thought I’d check it out in case it was someone I knew,” he said.

Jay Start, a spokesman for Parks Township Volunteer Fire Company, said crews were lucky to contain the fire to the mill and about a half-acre of brush atop Keim Lane.

“With the wind on this hill, it’s tough,” Start said. “The burning trash got away from him because it’s dry and windy. It got hold of the saw mill.”

The mill and its wooden contents burned rapidly. Within an hour, all but a portion of one smoldering wall was gone.

Start said crews prevented the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings, including Keim’s home and a neighbor’s barn-like garage. Keim said the heat melted some of the siding on his garage.

“It was a good stop,” Start said, noting Keim’s son couldn’t immediately call 911 because the fire burned a phone line.

Start said crews had the blaze under control by 5 p.m., two hours after it began. As the Parks fire was winding down, several companies left to fight a brush fire at Culp’s Auto Wrecking on nearby Chestnut Road in Kiski Township.

Start said there was a good turnout considering manpower can be hard to come by in the middle of weekday afternoon.

Crews from Bethel, Gilpin, Kiski Township, North Apollo, Vandergrift and West Leechburg fire companies assisted, along with Lower Kiski Ambulance.

Tanker trucks ferried water from Upper Mateer Road up a the steep dirt lane leading to Keim’s hilltop property.

Keim said the mill was a conglomeration of three buildings that created an area about 75 feet by 20 feet.

He said the mill was built about 20 years ago. He used it for custom-sawing and kiln-drying lumber.

“It’s something I’ve been doing since 1996,” said Keim.

He said he recently canceled his insurance on the building. He doesn’t plan to rebuild.

“I’m not going to do anything with it,” he said. “I’m done.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.