Cause of Seneca Hardwood Fire Remains Undetermined

| September 16, 2020

SENECA, Pa. (EYT) – Officials say the question of the cause of the blaze that decimated the main structure at Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company in Venango County will never be answered.

(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)

According to Trooper Jeffery Cross, a Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal stationed in Franklin, the cause of the fire at Seneca Hardwood will remain undetermined.

“The firefighters pushed everything into one big pile while fighting the fire. There’s just no way to figure out what happened,” Cross told

Cross also noted that an insurance adjustor for the carrier for Seneca Hardwood came to the same conclusion.

The fire broke out shortly before 8:30 p.m. at Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company, just off Hepler Road, in Rockland Township.

According to a representative of Venango County 9-1-1, they received a call reporting the fire at 8:19 p.m., and all Venango County fire departments, except for Cooperstown, were dispatched to the fire.

Additional support was also called in from surrounding counties, including companies from Petrolia, Bruin, North Washington, Marion Township, and Eau Claire in Butler County, companies from Hydetown and Randolph in Crawford County, Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department from Clarion County, as well as several companies from Mercer County.

Tionesta Volunteer Fire Department in Forest County and several other departments in surrounding counties were also placed on stand-by.

Community Ambulance and Emlenton Area Ambulance also responded to the scene.

Chief Kevin Williams of Rockland Volunteer Fire Department reported that the main structure was a complete loss, but the other surrounding structures were saved.

“There may be some smoke damage,” Williams noted.

Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company first opened in Venango County in 1959 as a small, family-owned mill supplying regional customers. While they have expanded over the years and now supply hardwood products to clients across the nation, they remain a family-owned and operated business.

The company focuses on hardwood flooring and is known for its commitment to the responsible harvesting of timber and maximizing their use of resources by utilizing all scrap for either the manufacturing of particleboard or to produce heating for their kiln drying systems.

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