A privately held company in Daviess County is trying to put the pieces back together following a devastating fire that briefly shut down operations. The fire just before Christmas was no present for Basiloid employees or its owner. The building was a total loss.
“In my mind it was a monumental fire,” said Basiloid owner Rob French. “We had a lot of things in production and it came to a screeching halt. I don’t think the company will see the full effects until several months down the road.”
French points out there was an effort almost immediately to try and limit the fire’s impact. Employees missed only two days of work before they came back and began trying to put the pieces back together.
“My main goal was to get the employees back to work and production going,” said French. “We put a lot together in the last month as far as getting new equipment in. Our employees helped clean up the fire mess and helped move anything that was still good, which there wasn’t much.”
For the time being Basiloid and its 20 employees are working out of the KCARC building on the east side of Bicknell.
“Mike Carney [KCARC executive director] was nice enough to lease that building to us for a few months to get us going again,” said French. “We are about at a 30 percent production rate.”
The plan for the company is to make the stay in Bicknell temporary. French is consulting with employees and meeting with an architect to try and return the business to Elnora.
“The employees and I are coming up with a game plan to lay a new building out with a better flow,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s better. Hopefully, the guys are going to wind up in a better building with better lighting and better ventilation.”
There is no time table set for the building of a new facility, and French says he has not talked with any officials in Elnora or Daviess County about potential assistance the company might be able to get.
He does add that while the fire may have been monumental, the future appears good for the company.
“I think it looks pretty good,” said French. “I think we will get it rebuilt and it will be better.”
The fire that brought down the Basiloid building after 67 years of operation in Elnora was reported just a couple of hours prior to shutting down for Christmas. The state fire marshal was called in to investigate and still has not released an official cause.
“We know where it started,” said Elnora Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rob Dove. “It started back in the rafters in the rear of the building. Some employees said they heard a crackling sound and then noticed the smoke. It most likely was an electrical short someplace back in there.”