By Kim Steele
Killeen Daily Herald
A raging all-night fire destroyed a cabinetry business about 15 miles south of Killeen, leaving 12 workers without jobs.
Bell County Fire Marshal Steve Casey said the fire began about 8 p.m. Thursday and was extinguished about 4 a.m. Friday. The cause of the fire is under investigation but appears to be accidental.
Casey said Norman Woodworks, owned by Jim Norman and located in the 1100 block of Wilson Branch Road, suffered about $500,000 worth of damage and was a total loss.
"The fire was really hot and there was a lot of wood in the building," said Casey.
Chris Norman said his parents, Jim and Debbie Norman, were returning from dinner in Killeen when they saw heavy smoke in the distance. As they got closer to home, Chris Norman said they realized the shop behind their house was burning and called for assistance.
"We're not exactly sure what happened," said Chris Norman. "An investigator has been out, but no one has pinpointed what caused the fire yet. We're all just very happy that no one was injured. Everything else can be replaced."
Killeen Fire Chief Jerry Gardner said his department responded to the fire along with the Southwest Bell County and Florence volunteer fire departments.
Gardner said the building, which measured about 60 feet by 100 feet, was fully engulfed by flames when he got there.
"There was a tremendous amount of fuel in the shop because of the wood and the varnish and other materials," said Gardner.
"The firefighters tried to get inside but it was too hot, so they went defensive and fought the fire from outside. They had to cut a lot of holes in the building's metal siding to direct water streams in there."
Gardner said the fire was stubborn and required so much water it had to be shuttled in by the Florence Volunteer Fire Department.
Gardner said it also took time for the firefighters to use their saws to cut holes in the building.
Chris Norman said his father owns a second cabinetry shop in Youngsport, about nine miles southwest of Killeen, and production and the workers will be transferred there. He said the Youngsport shop has not been running at full capacity and will be able to pick up the extra work from the burned shop for a while.
Contact Kim Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567.