Firefighters from eight area departments battled a major fire late Sunday afternoon and evening, May 13 at H&H Industries, located just north of Oak Hill at 5400 State Route 93.
The fire was discovered at approximately 5 p.m. and some firefighters were on the scene until nearly 11 p.m. that evening. Firefighters arriving first from the Madison-Jefferson fire station in Oak Hill found heavy smoke and fire coming from the large production building located closest to John Evans Road on the south end of the property. At one time early in the fire, smoke could be seen at least five miles away.
As firefighters began their battle, they were faced with several major challenges.
The roof on the burning building was already showing signs of collapsing, which it soon did.
There were as many as 30 very flammable fuel tanks just outside the burning building, which could have resulted in explosions and helping the fire to spread.
There were very large tires inside the burning building and burning tires are very difficult to extinguish and the smoke they emit can carry toxic chemicals.
Two other major buildings nearby on the H&H property -- a second production building and an office building -- were also threatened if the fire was able to spread.
As it turned out firefighters were successful in containing the fire to the one building and their close attention to the fuel tanks prevented any explosions or additional fires.
Sunday was not a regular work day for H&H and nobody was known to be in the building when the fire started and so no occupants were injured.
The fire-damaged building was counted as a total loss, but there was no other reported damage to other buildings on the property, according to Lieutenant Daniel Parker of the Madison-Jefferson Fire Department.
There were no fire-related injuries, but Parker said there were some cases of heat exhaustion or near heat exhaustion among firemen who labored for hours with outdoor temperatures in the mid-80s on one of the hottest days of the spring. Many of the Madison-Jefferson firefighters had assisted the Jackson Fire Department on a residential fire for at least a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon just prior to when the H&H fire occurred.
"Everybody did a good job doing what had to be done," Parker stated. "Tires are very hard to deal with."
Parker reported the cause of the H&H fire was not immediately determined and is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal's Office. Investigators will likely check out video from surveillance cameras to provide possible clues about where and how the fire started.
The Madison-Jefferson Fire Department received mutual-aid assistance from the Jackson, Bloomfield Township, and Liberty Township departments in Jackson County, from the Centerville and Rio Grande departments in Gallia County and from the South Webster and Vernon Township departments in Scioto County. Firefighters from the Greenfield Township department in Gallia County provided coverage at the Madison-Jefferson fire station.
H&H Industries is considered one of the major employers in the Oak Hill area and is one of the nation's largest producers and suppliers or retreaded tires used on large mining and construction equipment.