Fire destroys Ireland plumbing and heating shop

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
The Ireland Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire at Schwenk Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, 4720 W. 500N, northwest of Jasper on Tuesday. The building and owner Roger Schwenk’s plumbing and heating part inventory were destroyed.

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

IRELAND — Fire destroyed the Schwenk Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning shop at 4720 W. 500N late Tuesday morning.

The 42-by-70 building was Roger Schwenk’s workshop, said Ireland Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Stan Seifert.

Roger had been in the shop an hour before the fire was reported but had left to run errands.

His partner discovered the fire when she noticed a neighbor running into the back yard, according to Seifert. She called in the fire northwest of Jasper at 11:24 a.m.

Roger Schwenk’s brother, Andy Schwenk, who lives down the road, also noticed the fire, Seifert said. Andy rushed to the scene and got his brother’s service truck and a backhoe trencher out of the shop.

Roger Schwenk’s brother, Andy Schwenk, who lives down the road, also noticed the fire, Seifert said. Andy rushed to the scene and got his brother’s service truck and a backhoe trencher out of the shop.

Seifert said the fire of undetermined origin started in the southeast portion of the building and spread northward.

The chief said Andy Schwenk told him the fire was already roaring through the structure when he arrived.

“We were able to save the office area where he had all his records,” Seifert said. “He was able to get in there and get his computer.”

The building and Schwenk’s plumbing and heating part inventory were destroyed, according to the chief. Also destroyed inside the building were a small John Deere tractor with front-end loader, an older tractor and another trencher backhoe.

Ireland responded with four trucks and 21 firefighters. The Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Department based in Otwell brought two tankers and three firefighters and the Haysville Volunteer Fire Department assisted with one tanker and four firefighters. They were on scene for three and a half hours.

The Schwenk home about 15 feet from the shop was saved by firefighters.

The Schwenks’ insurance company requested that the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office investigate the fire, Seifert said. An investigator is scheduled to be on the scene at noon today.

The Dubois Rural Electric Cooperative, Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services, the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department and JOJ Sander Inc., Ireland, also assisted. Seifert said JOJ Sander supplied a backhoe to pull the burned shell of the building’s walls apart.

County sheriff’s deputies shut down County Road 500N from County Road 550W to Portersville Road during the fire so firefighters could safely draw water from a hydrant by a corner in the road.

Ireland responded with four trucks and 21 firefighters. The Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Department based in Otwell brought two tankers and three firefighters and the Haysville Volunteer Fire Department assisted with one tanker and four firefighters. They were on scene for three and a half hours.



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