Fire impacts more than burned business

WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) -- A devastating fire is hurting multiple area businesses. Not only did Shorty's Bar and Grill Restaurant burn down, but so did the neighboring storage facility.

The owner was storing a skidster used to collect recycling. Until he gets a new one, many businesses will have to figure out what to do.

"Once the bailer gets still, we're done. We're at a standstill until we can get something in to get the bails out."

John Hanford has been recycling here since 2012. But, after last week's fire, his equipment was destroyed.

"We don't have any way to load up our bails or move our stuff because our skidster was a total loss. We're basically trying to squeeze by."

Hanford says he picks up recycling for more than 30 businesses. Roger Dittrich's is one of them.

"It's a service we need because, otherwise, it piles up outside."

He says he used to keep his bundles of cardboard and plastic bags in the back of his distributing store, but now says he's had to put it on the side. He has almost 10,000 pounds.

"There's nobody locally that does it, other than John. We'd have to go to Kankakee or a different county."

Unless Hanford can get a new skidder, business might have to throw it all away.

"There's going to be more cardboard and it's going to be put in the landfill because there's no one else in the area."

Hanford says the fire rekindled multiple times. The fire department is still keeping an eye on it. The cause is still not known.


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