Fire razes kiln building at Lashway Lumber in Williamsburg

  • Flashing police lights File photo

  • Larry Lashway, co owner of Lashway Lumber in Williamsburg, talks Monday morning about the wood and equipment lost in Sunday’s fire in the barn that held the drying kiln. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Larry Lashway, co owner of Lashway Lumber, talks about the wood and equipment lost in the fire in the barn which held the drying kiln Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/7/2022 9:19:49 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — The kiln building at Lashway Lumber was destroyed in a fire early Sunday.

The building contained wood intended for guitar manufacturer C.F. Martin & Co., as well as wooden slabs for tables and baseball bat billets, the pieces of wood that are shaped into baseball bats. Larry Lashway, a fourth-generation owner of Lashway Lumber, said Monday he’s had to call a number of customers and tell them that their wood is now gone. He said he did not have an estimate of the damages, though he said that about 20% of the company’s business was involved in the building.

Lashway lives near the business, and he said he got a call at around 2 a.m. that alerted him to the fire.

“I ran out and there was flames,” he said. “Crazy flames.”

A post on the police and fire department’s Facebook page states that firefighters were dispatched to the scene around 2 a.m., where they found a mill building engulfed in flames.

Additional fire crews from Northampton, Goshen, Chesterfield and Conway responded to the scene, while Westhampton firefighters provided station coverage and Highland Ambulance provided medical coverage.

Crews remained on scene into the morning and continued to put out hot spots Sunday afternoon.

No injuries were reported, even with the heat and humidity.

Lashway praised the response of the fire department and he noted that the fire chief, who lives nearby, was on the scene before him.

“I bet you it was within two minutes of the tones going off,” Lashway said.

The building was insured, Lashway said. The insurance company adjuster is expected on Tuesday, and the family intends to rebuild.

“In a perfect world, hopefully by the first of the year we’d be up and going,” he said.

Founded in 1954, Lashway Lumber offers diverse wood products, including custom sawmill work, logging services and custom kiln drying, according to its website.

Lashway Lumber dries a significant amount of imported wood for the fabled Martin guitar company of Nazareth, Pa.

“We do it better than anybody else — we take the water out of this wood,” he said.

Lashway said that the company’s kiln supplier, Vacutherm in Barre, Vt., has promised to build them a new kiln and that they can start using it at their Barre location once it’s completed.

“They will have a kiln for us to use,” he said.

Lashway said that this kiln should be completed in six to eight weeks time.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but is not believed to be intentionally set.

“Hopefully we can just clean it up and move on,” Lashway said.

Staff writer Scott Merzbach contributed to this report.

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