MIFFLIN COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Dozens of employees are without a job after fire tears through the Allensville Planing Mill just minutes outside the Huntingdon County line.
More than 20 fire companies were called to the scene from four counties in Central Pennsylvania. First responders were battling flames for almost 20 hours.
“Next thing you know there was a big boom and mom and dad are screaming, you know, APM’s on fire,” says Lucas Long, an employee at Allensville Planing Mill.
Long lives nearby and says he witnessed the fire from its start. His dad is a manager at the mill and Long says there were about 50 employees currently working at the mill who will be without a job tonight.
“Of course you know a lot of them just either bought houses or a lot of them got kids, and it’s gonna be tough for them,” says Long.
The hardware store nearby survived, but the truss building is gone.
Menno Township supervisor, Stephen Dunkel, says the plumes of smoke were devastatingly eerie.
“The glow that emerged from the fires and the flames shooting upward were incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Dunkel. “It reminded me of footage I’ve seen of cities in Germany that were bombed during WWII and the infernos that were taking place.”
Dunkel says there was great cooperation among fire departments and without them things could have been much worse.
Many employees of the planing mill have stopped by today to see for themselves what’s left of their workplace. The owner says he’s determined to rebuild.
A state fire marshal was on scene today trying to determine what ignited the fire. WTAJ will continue to update you as more information becomes available.