Fire devours grain mill in Damascus

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DAMASCUS, Ohio – An early morning fire June 17 completely gutted an old grain mill owned by Witmer’s Feed and Grain just north of Damascus.

The cause of the fire and estimated damage have yet to be determined. John Bricker, Damascus fire chief, said 11 departments and approximately 100 firefighters responded to the scene.

“The mill was completely engulfed when we arrived to the scene,” said Bricker. “We had the fire under control in about an hour, but the mill is a complete loss. I was told it had been there since the 1920s.”

Three firefighters were injured in the blaze – two from heat exhaustion and a wall collapsed on another. None were seriously injured.

Phyllis Porter, an office manager for Witmer’s, said the mill was completely gutted of its inventory. Porter said bagged feed; cat, dog and rabbit food; a grain mixer; and office equipment were lost in the blaze. The grain and fertilizer departments were not harmed.

“The fire will definitely hamper business, but we will be able to service all of our feed and grain customers from our main mill in Columbiana,” said Porter.

Owners and managers at Witmer’s have yet to decide if they will rebuild the mill.

Damascus Fire Department responded to the fire with mutual aid from Beaver Township, Beloit, Berlin Township, Ellsworth Township, Green Township, Homeworth, North Georgetown, Perry Township, Sebring and Winona-Butler fire departments.

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