EUBANK — Part of a pallet mill burned to the ground early this morning in what is the sixth suspected arson fire in the southern Lincoln County/northern Pulaski County area in the last two months.
“It’s highly suspicious,” Tim Barron, owner of Barron’s Pallet on Old Cuba Road about two miles east of Eubank, said this morning.
Barron said the fire, which was reported about 1:45 a.m., quickly destroyed the operation’s scrag mill, a building where raw timber is cut into lengths needed to make pallets.
“It’s green, high-moisture content wood. It’s hard to burn unless you’ve got some accelerant on it,” he said.
Barron’s Pallet is about three miles south of the Lincoln County line and within four miles of the old Eubank High School and East Anderson Hardwoods, both of which have been the targets of multiple suspicious fires dating back to Nov. 28.
Members of the Pulaski County Arson Task Force are expected to be at the pallet mill this morning but had not arrived at 9 a.m., Barron said.
Tiger Robinson, fire coordinator for Pulaski County, said there have been no leads uncovered in the earlier fires, which occurred in the early morning hours Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 30 at the school and Dec. 20 and Jan. 2 at East Anderson Hardwoods.
The fires at East Anderson caused an estimated $1.5 million in damages, and the lumber yard’s insurance company is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for the fires there.
Trooper Paul Blanton, spokesman for the Kentucky State Police post in Richmond, said KSP arson investigator Pat Alford likely will look into today’s fire at Barron’s even though Pulaski County is outside the Richmond post’s coverage area. Alford has been investigating the previous fires in the area.
“I don’t know that there are any leads, but Detective Alford has been down there a lot and he’s pursuing all paths,” Blanton said this morning.
Barron said he has no insurance on the pallet operation, which was started by his father, Raymond Barron, in 1967. The only other fire in the company’s history occurred about 20 years ago and was caused by a lightning strike, Tim Barron said.
The business employs about 50 people, 12 of which worked in the scrag mill, Barron said. That operation will be rebuilt over time, and the company will continue to make pallets as it is being rebuilt, he said.
“It will definitely slow our production down, but we are going to keep going,” the owner said.
To report information about any of the fires, call 1-800-272-7766.