Butler County woodworking shop gutted by fire

The store was a total loss. (FOX19)
The store was a total loss. (FOX19)

REILLY TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Butler County fire investigators are looking into the cause of a blaze that raced through a Reilly Township woodworking shop on Saturday.

The fire broke out shortly before 4 a.m. at Gunstocks Plus in the 6100 block of Stillwell Beckett Road. There were initial concerns that guns and ammunition were inside the shop, but that turned out not to be the case.

Owner Virgil Otto, 72, says he got a rude awakening Saturday morning.

"We woke up this morning very early to fire trucks here on the scene and came over and found the building in a blaze and from then on it progressed and got worse and worse."

Otto, who lives across the street from his shop, says he watched helplessly as firefighters struggled to contain the fire.

"They were doing all they could do to fight it and hold it down, but the

problem being that here in the rural areas we don't have an unlimited amount of water."

There are no fire hydrants along the road so water had to be trucked in with multiple tanks responding.

The fire burned so intensely it collapsed a cinderblock wall and left the building a complete loss.

"Lots of equipment gone. 40 plus years of accumulation, personal hand tools and things that I made a living with so It's a loss, but they're material things," says Otto.

Otto produces custom made gunstocks for muzzle loaders and other firearms. He also makes furniture and mantle pieces. All his woodworking equipment was destroyed, but he is grateful for one thing.

"No one was injured, I mean, we're very thankful the good Lord has given us another chance. Nobody was hurt and the firemen weren't hurt. We got another chance. We're OK."

Otto has insurance and he says he's grateful for the scores of friends and neighbors who have stopped by to offer help and support.

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