Employees sift through rubble as investigation continues - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Employees sift through rubble as investigation continues

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The business will likely open Monday from a new location. The business will likely open Monday from a new location.

A three-decade old business is now piles of rubble and ash. Fire ripped through the Alabama Climate Control building Thursday around 4:00 p.m. Crews fought the fire into the night.

"We were helpless," said Sales Manager Dennis Veal. "And to some point, the firefighters were helpless as far as trying to save the property. There were some compressed gasses in there and propane bottles in there with a forklift so it was a very dangerous situation."

Crews were very concerned about the chemicals in that building. There was propane, Freon and asbestos inside. The smoke was toxic, however hazmat crews tested the air and water and said there is no danger to those nearby.

Everyone from the owners to employees and their families were at the scene Friday, as well as investigators.

Cliff Carlisle, an investigator from the owner's insurance company, Crain & Associates, said determining the cause of the fire will likely take a few days.

Investigators first have to look through every space in the building and take pictures of everything. They will also interview everyone who was there or works at the business to gather every clue possible.

Workers mounted aluminum panels to the holes in the building in order to keep people out.

Investigators don't have an exact figure on exactly how much was lost. However, Veal said there were more than100 air conditioning units inside, each costing anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. Also, many paper files were lost.

Veal said it is support from co-workers and family that will get them through this. They just hope they will be able to keep a full staff.

"Hopefully we will have enough insurance to regroup and rebuild if we need to," said Veal. "It is the unknown, not knowing how long we will be able to keep all the employees working, because their families are important also."

Alabama Climate Control is not closed, despite the losses. It will likely be open for business Monday -- just obviously at another location.

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