Train carrying crude oil stopped before reaching huge store fire

EAST ROCHESTER, Ohio (WYTV) – A fire gutted a Columbiana County business Monday evening, but fire officials said it could’ve been a lot worse.

Hoopes Fertilizer Works in East Rochester caught on fire around 6 p.m.

“We had a couple of explosions that lifted the roof and brought them back down,” said Sandy Creek/Minerva Fire Chief Aaron Stoller. “We changed to a defensive operation after the first one and have been defensive ever since then.”

As crews fought the flames, a train carrying crude oil was headed toward the scene on nearby tracks.

They had to stop the train before it got too close.

“We had some difficulty. We had to shut down the rail line nearby due to some trains that were passing nearby,” Stoller said. “Other than that, we had great help from [the Ohio Department of Transportation] and [Ohio State Highway Patrol] with traffic and salting.”

At the time, the building was holding road salt, not fertilizer.

Eighty firefighters from ten departments responded to the scene.