By Julie Ann Madden
Usually Dave Sheveland leaves his welding business about 9 p.m. each evening — after he stokes the wood burner that heats the building at 201 Mill St.
However, Thursday night was his “biker night” gathering, and luck was on his side.
At about 11 p.m., Sheveland stoked the wood furnace for the final time that evening and went back to visiting with friends in an adjoining room.
When Sheveland came back a few minutes later, he discovered the wood furnace glowing red — its chimney had gotten too hot and caught the wood roofing surrounding the chimney on fire.
After an unsuccessful attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher and water hose, Sheveland called for the Akron Fire & Rescue Department.
The local firefighters fought the -25 degree wind chill as they battled the chimney fire. They were on the scene until about 2 a.m.
Sheveland stayed a while longer, then went home.
After a couple hours of sleep, Sheveland returned to his welding shop to discover the wood was smoldering again.
When The Akron Hometowner arrived, Sheveland was using his own water hose to extinguish the fire and removing more of the wooden roofing.
Sheveland’s luck continued to hold as he was able to prevent another blaze.
Plus, the benefits of living in the close-knit community of Akron were in full swing as people were stopping by with portable heaters so Sheveland could try to keep enough heat in the business to save the water pipes.
It was business as usual the rest of Friday, said Sheveland, and by Monday, repairs were pretty close to being done as Sheveland had fixed his roof and the wood furnace was back in operation.
The wood furnace has been the business’ only source of heat since 1978, Sheveland told The Akron Hometowner, adding this was the first time his family’s ever had a fire in the building.