NAPANEE — An office fire destroyed nine months’ of paperwork, including contracts, at a Napanee area grain elevator.
It was a nightmare for farmer and elevator operator Herb Hart, who runs Hart Acre Grains at Napanee. Police said that a suspicious fire broke out in his office, a former portable classroom, at one a.m. on March 10.
“We lost all our info. Our contracts, everything backed up to the server was in the office,” Hart said. The office is about 150 ft. from Hart’s electrical room, which he works out of, and the grain bins, so neither were at risk. His five trucks were parked not 50 ft. from the office, though none were damaged.
Now he’s scrambling to catch up. Local farmers have been very helpful in bringing information in, but three full-time office staff are digging through emails going back to last June to find contracts. All bookkeeping since last June also has to be re-entered, he said.
Meanwhile, the shipping and contracting continues. The elevator never stopped shipping but stopped receiving crop for one week until March 15.
Hart migrated his staff to his own office and he’s back to working out of his pickup truck.
He figured total damage was around $100,000. The building was insured, but it won’t cover everything, he said. It might cover his destroyed grading equipment, worth about $12,000.
Napanee OPP suspect arson and are investigating.