The main production area at HBT Smokers on Highway 431 in Claysville burned Wednesday night.

There’s never a good time for a devastating fire, but this one couldn’t have come at a worse time for the company, said Stacy Nickell, who owns it along with Chris Clay. Summer is their busiest time. They were scheduled to be at the Tennessee Valley Hunting & Fishing Expo this weekend. Then next weekend, they were scheduled to be at a fishing rodeo on the coast.

Nickell and some other employees were working when the fire broke out.

“We heard a pop, pop, pop in the electrical box,” he said. “We dumped 3 fire extinguishers on it but couldn’t stop it.”

The men pulled 5 welders and a plasma machine out of the shop before the fire really got going. They also moved some completed smokers further away from the burning shop.

The fire happened a little before 7 p.m. Wednesday night. Guntersville Fire responded and knocked down the blaze. Grant and Waterfront backed them up.

On Thursday morning, Nickell said they were just trying to clean up a bit so the fire investigators could do their work.

“They have to complete their work before we can knock this one down and build a new one,” he said.

There’s another building on the property.

“We started in the small shop and I guess we will be going back to that shop,” Nickell said.

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