Fire destroyed the factory building Tuesday evening at East Division and South Hazel in Hope that once housed the Fink and Company puzzle factory and the W. Shanhouse and Sons garment factory.
The fire was reported around 6:30 p.m. Firefighters arrived at the scene to thick black smoke pouring from the structure. Within minutes the building was fully engulfed in flames.
The Hope Fire Department was able to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent businesses on the block while they brought it under control. The temperature in those nearby buildings was checked to make sure there was no threat.
Even after the fire was initially brought under control, a gas line continued to spew flames several feet into the air. Utility crews were working to shut down the line. Firemen worked throughout the night to put out the fire as hot spots continued to flame up.
The structure, which has been vacant for several years, was a total loss with the roof and south wall collapsing. The building had last been used to manufacture jigsaw puzzles in the late 1990′s for a company run by Albert Fink, Jr. W. Shanhouse and Sons manufactured clothing in the building from 1945 through the 1970′s. A rabbit processing company had used the building at one time also.
The exact cause of the fire hasn’t been determined but arson is suspected. Hope Fire Chief Dale Glanton says the remaining walls of the building will be torn down within the next day or so.