Despite one of its buildings being destroyed by a fire last weekend, Woodard Cleaning and Restoration in Rock Hill wants to assure customers that everything is still business as usual.
The three-alarm fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at one of Woodard’s warehouses just off Manchester Road, behind the Trainwreck Saloon. The company’s headquarters and retail store, located across the street at 9308 Manchester Road, was not affected by the fire. Woodard’s other three buildings in the area also were not affected.
“We’re still 100 percent operational, it’s just the warehouse that was damaged,” said Dave Christoff, chief revenue officer for Woodard Cleaning and Restoration. “People are picking up and dropping off rugs, and we’re going out and cleaning carpets and doing all of our usual business, it’s just that the warehouse isn’t operational at the moment. I don’t think we’ve ever experienced anything like this, but we’re working through it.”
The blaze, which caused part of the building to collapse, burned for several hours with firefighters from multiple municipalities working shifts throughout the night well into Sunday morning.
“We arrived to heavy smoke and heavy fire,” Rock Hill Fire Chief Kevin Hollaran said. “We made an interior attack and were then forced back.”
Officials are still investigating what may have caused the fire, but foul play is not suspected. The building is likely a total loss, Christoff said.
Woodard, which specializes in restoration after fire, smoke and water damage, has been in business for more than 70 years. The business is not used to being on the wrong side of a disaster.
“We’re normally the ones going out to help people after a fire or flood, so this is flipped around a little,” Christoff said. “But this is what we do so we just need to help ourselves this time.”
Christoff said the warehouse contained inventory being stored for clients who had experienced property damage. He said inventory at the warehouse was lower than the company’s “busy season,” which tends to be in the fall.
“We had some construction supplies in there, but mainly this was a warehouse where we kept some of our customers’ property after they suffered a fire or flood,” Christoff said.
“I Was In Pure Fear”
Trainwreck Saloon owner George Hansford spent several hours keeping close watch on the fire that was a mere 25 feet from his bar and restaurant at 9243 Manchester Road.
“I was in pure fear,” said Hansford, who arrived at the scene shortly after the fire began around 1 a.m. Sunday. “This building dates back to 1890 and it’s all wood, so it would burn up in an hour if the flames caught it. We were saved. We have no damage at all.”
Hansford said crews from Rock Hill, Webster Groves, Kirkwood, Shrewsbury, Glendale, Affton, Ladue and other fire departments worked throughout the night. As the hours wore on, Hansford provided firefighters and emergency crews with coffee and breakfast.
“It went on for about 12 hours,” he said. “They had five ladders here and pumped water for five to seven hours. They had to have pumped over 3 million gallons of water. It wasn’t until about noon (on Sunday) when they started putting foam on it.”
Hansford said he has a new appreciation for emergency crews.
“I learned so much about first responders and their skills and the organization an effort like that takes,” he said. “You never really realize what all goes on until you’ve been on the other side. I was so impressed – those guys were unbelievable.”