The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — A raging fire Sunday destroyed a building owned by at least four businesses over the last few decades.
Middleburg Fire Chief Dwayne “Butch” Hackenburg said flames were shooting out the side and roof of the building, used for storage by Benner’s Amusements, when he arrived on the scene.
Dozens of firefighters from about a half dozen companies surrounded the burning building and doused it with water from all sides.
A firefighter stationed in a cherry picker above the building trained a hose on flames shooting through the roof, while several others positioned themselves in front of the building, spraying water through windows as the flames roared out.
The fire, the heat from it so intense it stung the faces of those who ventued too close, burned holes in the sides of the building, exposing the inferno inside.
At times, the smoke – visible from a mile outside town – become so thick the firefighters were lost in the haze. Charred debris went floating into the air, sending bits and pieces of blackened building raining down on the crowd of firefighters and bystanders.
Hackenburg said the hydrant the fire companies were pulling from was weak, so they had to fill to fill tankers at a nearby pond and truck the water back and fourth to the scene.
“There was more fire load than we had water,” he said.
It took firefighters about an hour and a half to get the blaze under control. There were no injuries, Hackenburg said, and he could not provide an estimate of the damage. He said Kenneth Benner, owner of the building, had insurance.
Five people pulled a booth labeled “Ride Tickets” away from the structure only minutes before the wall behind it collapsed.