AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Four months after a devastating fire that destroyed everything except its records, Asphalt Solutions is back in business.
As the fire on Youngstown’s lower Market Street was being extinguished on March 19, company owner Bob Roth made a promise.
“We plan on tomorrow, opening the doors from a remote location, and still functioning, and a month from now when the season breaks, we will be doing what we do,” Roth said.
Eighty-one days after the fire, Roth stood in front of what was once part of B & R Wholesale Tires in Austintown, which is now the new home of Asphalt Solutions. And when the season broke, he was back in business.
“What we have done is borderline amazing,” Roth said.
Along with his partner, Justin Bishop, they made a list of priorities: seal coating and dump trucks, along with line stripping and crack sealing equipment.
“So in a matter of about a week-and-a-half, we flew to Orlando, drove back a truck, flew to Kansas City, drove back with a truck, went to Chicago to get that piece of machinery and bring that back, and then went to New Jersey to get a dump truck,” Roth said.
Six weeks after the fire, Asphalt Solutions had all the equipment it needed and was back in business. All 17 employees were back to work.
“The next day we kind of called everybody and said listen, you still have a job, we are still doing this,” Roth said.
On the day of the fir, Roth and Bishop salvaged irreplaceable files that helped speed up the rebuilding process. He could not thank the firemen enough.
“I mean, to go into a building that is engulfed in flames and then come over and ask ‘is there anything we can do for you?’ and ‘what can we get?’ and then they go in a burning building and start handing out files,” Roth said. “If I did not have those, it would make life a lot more difficult.”
The business was fully insured and three weeks after the fire, the money started coming in, which certainly helped. But still Roth challenges anyone to try building a business in six weeks as Asphalt Solutions did.
“I credit that to our community because we were raised like that. Tough area, you get knocked down, you get beat up, and guess what? You get up and you keep moving forward and that is kind of what we have been doing,” Roth said.
The building that once housed Asphalt Solutions has not been touched since the day of the fire. The delay in demolishing it has to do with the EPA, which wanted to know what was in there and how it would be disposed.
But there is good news. Abby Beniston, who handles code enforcement and demolition for Youngstown, said on Thursday the contractor turned in a revised notice to the EPA to begin demolition on Friday.