BEAVERCREEK TOWNSHIP — Two adjacent buildings were destroyed by a fire on Thursday at Siebenthaler’s Beavercreek Garden Center.
The incident began around 4:10 p.m. when several Siebenthaler employees noticed a small flame coming from the basement of a barn from outside the building. While investigating the scene, they attempted to use fire extinguishers to stop the sparking flames but found them to be too strong and immediately evacuated and called local emergency crews.
Beavercreek Fire Department, along with assistance from Xenia, Fairborn, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, responded to the scene and arrived to find the two structures engulfed by flames.
Siebenthaler’s president Robert Siebenthaler said the buildings were primarily used as a storage facility. The second floor of the bigger structure contained large amounts of pine needle mulch, which may have helped the fire to quickly spread.
Alex Zaharieff, the public safety director for Beavercreek Township, said crews could see heavy amounts of smoke as they were leaving their stations.
“We got on scene with the new fire stations that’s in service right around the corner here with heavy fire conditions,” he said. “We had some issues with the wind pushing the fire with the high gusts.”
No individuals were injured during the fire, nor was any equipment damaged. Both barns are a total loss according to officials.
Siebenthaler said he had left the facility and had driven less than a mile when he received a call about the fire. After arriving back on the grounds, he said he attempted to move a nearby truck but decided against doing so due to the intensity of the flames and heat.
“With the strong winds, I was kind of surprised it didn’t jump to other buildings,” he said. “Really no equipment loss, just materials.”
The adjacent pump house which irrigates above ground plant material was still believed to be operational. Siebenthaler said the company would have been left without the ability to water undamaged plants without it.
Beaver Valley Road was temporarily closed at the closest intersections to the garden center in order to keep vehicles from driving near the facility. Fire engines were parked on the roadway to use nearby fire hydrants to funnel in water.
“The fire department did a great job, but they had no chance from the get go,” Siebenthaler said. “It was a very old barn built out of local timbers harvested here from the hill, long before we bought the nursery in the 60s. Very old barn, very cool with constructions methods, not something you can replace.”
A nearby housing development did have a few grass fires, according to Zaharieff, which were quickly put out as they occurred.
He said it is hoped a potential cause to how the barn fire began would be determined by Friday.
“The important part is nobody is hurt,” Siebenthaler said. “At the end of the day, our people are more important than our plants.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.