EAST CANTON, Ohio — A well-known ag supply company headquartered in Stark County is recovering from a fire that destroyed its buildings and office equipment Jan. 10.
Bob and Marie Clapper, who started Ag Nation Products in their home in 1979, lost two houses and a garage that had been used for the business office. Two vehicles also were lost and a dually truck suffered some heat and melting damage.
The Clappers, of 4369 Ravenna Ave. S.E., East Canton, noticed the fire in the early morning hours of Jan. 10, and worked to remove what they could, including the truck, which had begun to melt in places and had to be pulled away with a skid steer. The truck was so hot that it burned Clapper’s hand when he tried to move it.
The Clappers had built a new home beside a much older home just a couple years ago and were about to tear the old house down, according to Michelle Parker, their daughter. Parker said the fire initially started in the garage next to the older house, and her family was confident it would be maintained to that structure. But, the heat and flames eventually spread to the newer house, and it, too, was a total loss.Items recovered.
The Clappers were able to recover very little of their personal belongings, but sifting through ashes were able to find Marie Clapper’s wedding ring, Bob’s wallet, a briefcase and a few other things.
Ag Nation is a popular business among area farmers and farmers across several states. Many of those same farmers turned out the following day to help sort through the debris.
“There was a good 50 people down here Saturday,” Bob said. “They literally got on their hands and knees and sifted through everything.”
In some places, he said there was a foot or more of ash, but volunteers wore gloves and sorted through it.Be advised.
Bob said his daughter had recently backed up the company’s records through the first of the year on a computer at her home — something he hopes will make a big difference on the information side of things. In the meantime, if there are concerns with your account, the company advises customers to call Michelle at 330-495-8473. If you sent a check recently, the Clappers ask that you watch to see if it has been deposited, as some were lost in the fire. If you ordered Panhandler or Ag Wrap Bale Wrappers, you should contact the Clappers to confirm your order.
The Clappers had the property insured through Paris & Washington Mutual Insurance Co. and are already working on plans for a new facility. They said the process has gone smoothly so far and they intend to stay in business. Bob was unsure what may have caused the fire, speculating that it could have been something electrical.
Bob and Marie are both in their 70s and have worked most of their life in agriculture. They also are experienced cattle graziers and operate a custom grazing business.
“He loves his farmers,” Michelle said.
She she is optimistic they’ll be able to find most of the companies’ records and “put everything back together.”“But if not ,we’ll deal with it,” she said. “It’s January 2014 — we’ll start anew.”