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Clay sawmill was fully engulfed in fire by the time it was reported

CLAY, W.Va. — Fire at a Clay County lumber mill caused widespread damage early Tuesday morning.

Clay Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Scott said his department got the call from the owner of the Pierson Lumber Sawmill around 12:20 a.m.

“It was mostly engulfed when the call came in. The owner lives nearby and said there was an explosion and some other things and he could see the flames from his house,” Scott explained.

Crews from five volunteer fire companies were quickly on the scene battling the blaze which was fully engulfing the structure when they rolled up.

“When we arrived, the majority of the sawmill, which is a long ‘L’ shaped building, one side of that was just about all in flames,” he said.

The structure is mostly wooden and the large amount of sawdust on the scene helped fuel the fire and made it burn quicker.

Crews were able to get the fire under control after some initial problems with water pressure. Firefighters stayed on scene for the rest of the night mopping up hot spots. According to the chief, the facility appeared to be a total loss.

“The machinery is gone. It’s not useable,” he said.

An investigator from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office was on scene looking for a cause. Nobody was injured in the fire.

Crews from Clay, Lizemores, Big Otter, Newton, and Gauley River Volunteer Fire Departments all responded to the scene.

It’s a big blow to the community since the sawmill is of the largest private employers in Clay County.

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