Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Wagner Lumber plans to rebuild after fire rips through building

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Wagner Lumber plans to rebuild after fire rips through building
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A fire destroys a big part of operations at a local company. Now the owners are left to pick up the pieces. It took 17 fire departments hours to get the flames under control at Wagner Lumber in Owego. Our Alexa Green tells us what future holds for the company.

OWEGO N.Y.-- When firefighters arrived at Wagner Lumber Company in Owego early Sunday morning, the building was completely in flames. The building and the equipment inside sustained massive damage.

"Pretty much all the high tech equipment inside that building has been ruined either by the fire itself, by heat, or by the water that was sprayed on the fire to contain it, then that water froze," said Steve Schaeffer, Vice President of Wagner Company.

On Monday, company officials were trying to figure out their next step. 35 employees worked at the saw mill, which was destroyed. They say those workers will be transferred to other facilities in the meantime.

"Those 35 guys will all have a job with the Wagner Companies. They may have to drive to one of our facilities that are 45 minutes away from this facility," Schaeffer explained.

But Wagner officials are looking towards the future. They say the fire has presented them with new opportunities.

"Technology in the saw mill industry is changing. And some of the things that were incorporated into this mill that we installed over the last 30 years, they're like historical compared to what we can now put in a brand-new facility."

Fire officials do not know the cause of the fire at this time, but they have ruled it to be accidental. Wagner Lumber officials say they plan to demolish the old building and rebuild as soon as they can.

The company hopes to rebuild within in the next six months.

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