Just as the sun was coming up early Tuesday, April 21, several drivers on Highway 41-A spotted smoke billowing from Leatherwood Distillery and called 911, according to officials with the Pleasant View Volunteer Fire Department. “Our first crews were on the scene at about 5:55 a.m.,” said P. J. Duncan, PVVFD Chief. Fire was coming out the large bay door in the center of the front side, and heavy black smoke was coming from all sides of the structure, he said.
Firefighters forced an opening on the front side of the building and quickly hit the fire, he said, and then forced entry at several other points. “The fire was quickly brought under control and damage was limited to the center part of the building,” Duncan said, with crews taking about two hours to extinguish the flames.
“We were super lucky that the fire didn’t get into any of the combustible items like the alcohol,” he said. The fire appears to have originated behind the center bay door, Duncan said, and there was nothing suspicious about the fire. The building did not have sprinklers, he said. Duncan thanked all the local agencies who assisted and said everyone worked well together.
Andy Lang, owner of Leatherwood Distillery, said the emergency crews “crushed it and did a great job” handling the fire. Lang said some of the equipment may be salvaged, and hopefully some of the barrels. The hand sanitizer they had been making to help during the coronavirus outbreak has been damaged. For now, he said the building is closed so insurance officials can do their work.
“I just thankful to everyone reaching out. I totally appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. We’ll be back at it,” he said.