UPDATE: See a letter from State Senator Johnny Nugent below the story. His business, Nugent Tractor Sales, was located next door to the fire.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Icicles dangled off of helmets while flames spewed into the frigid January sky.
Only debris and ice remained at the scene
of a structure fire on U.S. 50 in Lawrence-
burg Monday morning.
Mike Perleberg-Eagle 99.3
An intense fire engulfed the former Jones Flooring building at 513 U.S. 50-Eads Parkway in Lawrenceburg Monday morning. The first calls came in from passing motorists at 12:15 a.m.
Despite the inferno, Lawrenceburg Fire Lt. Cody Ratliff said temperatures dipped to 14 degrees as crews trudged through the elements to extinguish the flames.
An unidentified Aurora firefighter slipped on ice which had built up from water used to douse the flames. He was taken to the hospital with reported minor injuries.
Ratliff said firefighters initially went inside the burning building after arriving, but were called out when the risk became too great as the fire grew.
The last firefighters remained on scene until about 11:00 a.m.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal is leading the investigation with help from the Lawrenceburg Fire Department and Greendale Police.
Greendale Police Sgt. Kevin Turner tells Eagle 99.3 the fire was simply too large to have any immediate indication of what may have been the cause or whether it was suspicious in nature. The building was not currently occupied by an active business.
Fire departments assisting Lawrenceburg at the scene included Aurora, Greendale, Bright, Hogan Township, and Manchester. Departments from Dillsboro, Rising Sun, Miami Township (Oh.) and Whitewater Township (Oh.) assisted by covering areas for those other departments.
Local McDonald’s and Burger King restaurants lent the weary and cold firefighters a bite to eat along with help from Aurora’s firefighter rehab unit.
Pat McGraw Excavating brought heavy equipment to tear down any potential falling hazards at the remaining structure.
Letter from State Senator Johnny Nugent
Local emergency workers: We can’t thank them enough
January 16 seemed to be a typical Sunday evening as I retired early to get a good night’s rest —preparing for a busy week ahead. To my dismay, at about 12:15 a.m., my phone rang time and time again. Although I was in a deep sleep, I finally pulled myself out of bed to take the call.
In my still groggy state of mind, I was advised of a fire at the building next to my family business — Nugent Tractor Sales. In a new state of worry, I hurriedly dressed and drove to the location on U.S. 50.
Upon my arrival, I saw what looked to be a fiery inferno — flames were reaching well over 100 feet high and a slight wind was blowing them toward the family tractor business, just 20 feet away. My first thought was ‘my building is a goner.’ At that time, there seemed no possible way in my mind that it could be saved.
Fortunately, several fire companies were on-site with state-of-the-art equipment and well-organized, dedicated firefighters manning it. As a group, they were working diligently to contain the fire — high-pressure hoses were spraying water on my family business while other ladder trucks were pumping large volumes of water on the hot flames engulfing the burning building next door.
I quickly realized I was witnessing a “miracle at work,” as those tireless firefighters literally saved Nugent Tractor Sales from becoming a victim of the inferno next door. Damages to my building were limited to smoke and a few blown-out windows — small sacrifices considering the blaze.
As a state senator, Lawrenceburg resident, business owner and citizen, I’d like to extend a warm handshake and a genuine “thank you” to our local heroes who worked that night to contain the fire and save my family business. Not only am I appreciative of those particular firefighters, but also of all emergency personnel who work day after day and night after night to keep the public safe.
It is human nature — and certainly I am no exception — to take for granted those who keep us safe. Our police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are all very special people providing vital services. I encourage Hoosiers everywhere to stop and express their gratitude to these individuals when they see them — whether it be in the grocery store, on the street or even at the dinner table.
The fact is, most of us are so busy attending to our own families or our own businesses that we rarely think to do this — that is, until it’s our own homes or places of employment that are on fire or until we need emergency care. We never quite know just how fortunate we are until we need them. What they need is for us to support and appreciate them in their efforts.
To all of those who risk their lives to help others: “Thank you!”