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TAG holds grand re-opening

Almost a year after a devastating fire nearly destroyed the entire facility, TAG Truck Center held a grand re-opening on June 9 at their location at 2280 U.S. Highway 67.

“Who would have thought nine months ago, when we were standing over a pile of rubble, that we would be standing in a brand new beautiful facility,” said Robby Phillips, the vice president/general manager of TAG Truck Center. “Obviously we weren’t thrilled with the circumstances that went down, but we wouldn’t take anything for it. Our people are stronger for it, and now we have a better facility than before. I am very proud of our people.”

For Bill Merical, the general manager of the local center, the memory of the events that led up to the rebuild will stay with him for the rest of his life.

“I will never forget that evening,” Merical said. “I had gotten a phone call from our parts manager around 7 o’clock. He told me we were on fire. I thought he was talking about the record month we were having … but no, he meant we were actually on fire.”

Ten minutes after that phone call, he arrived at the center to see it completely engulfed in flames.

“The front offices were completely destroyed,” Merical said. “The heat twisted the steel beam in the ceiling. The shop didn’t actually burn, but the heat destroyed four trucks. It actually melted the inside of the cabs.”

Although an investigation on the cause of the fire was conducted, no cause was ever determined and the building – specifically the front offices – were completely destroyed.

“They knew where it started, but they were not able to determine a cause,” Merical said. “It was probably a short, but no definite cause was found.”

But according to Merical, some of the things that happened following the fire that evening were truly amazing.

Although most things in the office were a complete loss from the fire or the heat, two things did survive – an American flag and a needlepoint of the West Virginia University team logo made by Merical’s daughter. Both are now sitting on a bookshelf in his office.

“They still have smoke damage,” Merical said. “How they made it, I will never know, but I’m happy I was able to bring them back.”

Besides his surprise of what made it through the fire, Merical was more amazed by the outpouring of kindness from the community.

“First of all, Kary Buckley, with Buckley Towing, and Dean Frink called us the evening of the fire and said we could use their shops,” Merical said. “The day after the fire we moved into their shops and were doing engine overhauls.”

Another local business man, Dan Miller with Total Electric, helped Merical out by allowing TAG the use of some office space Miller wasn’t using.

“It was a nightmare,” Merical said of the days after the fire, “but nothing more than we could have asked anywhere for temporary locations. We moved a couple people down to Poplar Bluff to start talking to our customers to handle parts.”

Almost a year later, friends, family and customers gathered at the truck center.

“There are times when I sit back and I have to say ‘wow,’” Merical said. “You plan on a lot of things, but you don’t plan on a fire.”

After a fire nearly destroyed TAG Truck Center, the company spent nine months rebuilding the facility. The center now boasts a spacious showroom, a lounge for drivers and new offices among other things. The center invited friends, family and clients to the grand re-opening on June 9 to see the new facilities.

After a fire nearly destroyed TAG Truck Center, the company spent nine months rebuilding the facility. The center now boasts a spacious showroom, a lounge for drivers and new offices among other things. The center invited friends, family and clients to the grand re-opening on June 9 to see the new facilities.

After a fire nearly destroyed the entire building in July 2016, TAG Truck Center held a grand re-opening of the facility on June 9. The center, located at 2880 U.S. Highway 67, was rebuilt with new amenities such as a new drivers' lounge and a brand new showroom.   

After a fire nearly destroyed the entire building in July 2016, TAG Truck Center held a grand re-opening of the facility on June 9. The center, located at 2880 U.S. Highway 67, was rebuilt with new amenities such as a new drivers’ lounge and a brand new showroom.   

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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