Local News

Fire destroys longtime Lanark hardware store, lumber yard

LANARK – The nearly 50-year-old Lanark Building Center, which houses Carroll Service Co., a lumberyard, hardware store and ag coop at 213 W. Carroll St., was destroyed by a fire Sunday night.

Firefighters from five counties, many of them volunteers, responded to the blaze, which was called in to 911 around 7:30 p.m. by a passerby who saw smoke in the area, Lanark Fire Chief Cory Barnes said.

The fire started in the workshop area, and destroyed not only the building and contents, but also a forklift and two pickup trucks, Barnes said. No one was injured.

He expects damages will top $2 million.

A little more than 1.2 million gallons of water, from Lanark and hauled in from Shannon and Chadwick so as not to drain the village water supply, was used to fight the fire, Barnes said. The scene was cleared shortly after 1 p.m. Monday.

The state fire marshal is investigating, but the cause is not suspicious, he added.

The lumber yard made fighting the fire more challenging, as did the paint, chemicals and other building materials inside the store, the chief said. Fortunately, the only propane on site was in small cylinders used with barbecue grills, and those were removed before the fire could reach them.

Larger propane tanks, seed and other ag chemicals were at another site, Barnes said.

The frigid temperatures also played a role: The streets had to be salted multiple times to keep from icing over, and firefighters “couldn’t be left out there too long” and had to be rotated in and out.

In addition to the lumber yard and hardware store, Carroll Service Co., which has branches in Carroll and western Ogle counties, provides agriculture and energy-related products.

It has been in business in this village of 1,500 since 1963, and was a full-service hardware store and lumber yard with nearly 50 vendors selling paints, tools, construction and building materials, decking products, grass seed, fertilizer and more, the company said on its Facebook page.

“Hopefully, they’ll rebuild,” Barnes said.

“While we are saddened by the devastating fire last night, we want to thank all of the local fire departments that responded,” the company posted on its Facenbook page. ”We are extremely grateful for our local first responders and the support from our local communities.”

The Lanark Building Center before Sunday's fire.





Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.