STUTTGART, Ark. — Crews are trying to figure out what caused a building at one of Stuttgart’s oldest rice mills to collapse then catch fire.
It happened Friday at Rice Capital. An employee who asked to stay anonymous says eight people were working inside the building, which is used to make rice for dog food. That employee says there was little warning before the 3 story building started to crumble.
“Heard it cracking and all of a sudden the roof fell in,” the employee said. “We were aware of it, eventually it was going to happen. The timbers in there are very old and they eventually start to split and crack.”
The employee calls it nothing short of a miracle that everyone made it out unharmed.
“The mill can be rebuilt, but a person’s life cannot be,” he said. “Very blessed that none of us were hurt.”
Firefighters believe a power line that came down with the building sparked the fire.
“Due to the collapse we couldn’t really get to the fire so we had to really improvise for a lot of it,” said Stuttgart Fire Chief Jimmy Cason.
According to Cason it took crews hours to get the flames out.
With that mill building destroyed. the employee says they’re already focusing on rebuilding, a chance he’s not taking for granted.
“We all made it out together,” he said. “It’ll take a minute to get it back together but it will come back together.”