Large commercial fire under investigation in Cleveland

(Cleveland) – Several buildings and around three million board feet of lumber were destroyed in a commercial fire early Thursday morning in Cleveland. Fire Chief Ricky Pruitt said the blaze at North Georgia Hardwoods was reported around 3:30 a.m. by an employee who lived in an apartment located next to the property.

According to Pruitt, the fire originated in a storage area of the lumber supply company and quickly spread to three separate buildings.

A truck loaded with lumber arrived at the location sometime during the night and the driver was asleep inside the cab and noticed it was getting hot. He was able to get out before the intense heat set some of the lumber on the truck ablaze. Pruitt said the truck sustained damage from the intense heat.

No one was injured.

The fire destroyed the business’ showroom, management offices, and the finishing and planing building says Cleveland City Administrator Tom O’Bryant.

“Much of the facility was not impacted. As large as it was, the fire crews did a great job getting the fire under control and keeping it contained to those buildings,” he says.

The estimated amount of damage is unknown at this time.

About 40 personnel from Cleveland Fire, White County Fire Services, and Lee Arrendale battled the blaze for hours. The White County CERT Team also responded to assist the crews.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is working with Cleveland Fire Investigator Jason Davis to determine the cause. “At this time it is unknown whether there is anything suspicious about the fire,” says O’Bryant.

The fire scene is still very hot and Chief Pruitt says it could be Friday before they will be able to dig into the debris and investigate further.

Dean Dyer/WRWH News 
Joy Purcell/Now Habersham contributed to this report

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