A three-alarm fire destroyed a sawmill in Providence Township in southern Lancaster County Wednesday night.
No one was injured at the fire, said Trooper Jerry Harper, a state police fire marshal. Damage was estimated at $500,000.
The owner of Beiler’s Sawmill vowed the sawmill that has operated at 921 Lancaster Pike since 2004 will rebound.
“It was destroyed completely,” Elam J. Beiler said of the 22,000-square-foot pole barn-style building Thursday. “Some of the equipment can be saved and repaired. We will rebuild.”
The 54-year-old did not know when the business would be able to resume cutting logs into lumber.
The sawmill is about a quarter-mile north of Buck. Buck Lumber and Forest Product is in another building on the property and it was not damaged by the fire and will remain open, Beiler said.
The cause of the fire was traced to a welding project earlier in the day along the exterior of the sawmill, Harper said. A spark smoldered for a time before igniting nearby combustible and flammable materials, before extending into the business.
A torch had been used during workday hours to make repairs underneath a piece of equipment called a debarker, Beiler said. The fire did not take off in some wood chips and sawdust until after the business had closed.
Beiler thinks damage will ultimately amount to $150,000 to the building and $450,000 to equipment, which included two forklifts destroyed by the blaze. There was not much finished product lost in the fire, he said.
The sawmill building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly after 9:30 p.m.
Units from a dozen Lancaster County fire companies, in addition to crews from York County, responded. Multiple tanker trucks were utilized with fill sites established at Deaver and Hopkins Mill roads and School House and Hollow roads.
A hazardous materials crew responded for a ruptured tank of hydraulic fluid, Beiler said.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control in two hours.
Staff writer Jennifer Todd contributed to this story.