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Lanesville mill owner loses home, contents in blaze

The owner of The Lanesville Milling Co. credits firefighters with keeping a ‘huge ball of fire’ from leveling the building in a chain of events that destroyed his home this past weekend.
Mark Bush was living in a trailer about 20 feet behind the old mill that faces Main Street in the town’s east end. As a nearby creek flooded its banks Friday night, it caused a 500-gallon propane tank to break loose and explode.
‘The tank was about half full,’ said Bush, who purchased the property in 1998.
The fire ball floated up next to the 1918 mill, which Bush had remodeled. He had opened a restaurant there ‘ the Supper House ‘ but closed it in December. (It was open for the Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival earlier this month.)
‘The mill should have burned,’ said Bush, who was a little more optimistic yesterday than he was overnight Friday. (‘It don’t cost any more’ to be upbeat, he said.)
The 47-year-old was not home at the time of the explosion; he was helping the Steven Wheatley family who lives off Tandy Road, east of Lanesville, who had water running through their house. Severe thunderstorms that arrived Friday evening dumped several inches of rain on Harrison County until the storms left late Saturday.
Bush said he’s thankful he wasn’t home, or, he said, he would have been right near the area of the propane tank.
‘I feel lucky in two ways,’ he said. ‘First, that I didn’t get hurt, and second, the fire department was right on it.’
Members of the Lanesville Volunteer Fire Dept. were at the residence where Bush was helping.
Firefighter Tony Combs said that as he approached the mill, he thought the building was on fire, judging from the flames.
Bush said the building was beginning to smoke but it never caught fire.
‘The (firefighters) were just wonderful,’ he said. ‘They kept the mill from burning. Those firefighters risked their lives.’
In addition to the Lanesville VFD, members of the Georgetown fire department came to assist.
Bush, who did not have insurance, lost everything in the fire. He did have a few clothes in the dryer at his mother’s house, he said.
Steve Boehman said a fund has been established for his friend.
‘We have started a ‘Show Mark Some Love Fund,’ and collected $310 in the first 10 minutes,’ Boehman said. ‘We are asking you to send or bring $20 to $100 ‘ or whatever you can do ‘ to The Fun Farm to help him out.
‘He gives so much to everyone and asks for so very little in return,’ Boehman said.
Donations can be mailed or taken to: The Fun Farm, 2690 Breckenridge Road NE, Corydon.
Bush, who is living in the office area of the old mill, said yesterday, ‘If it hadn’t been for the fire, I could have handled the water.’
For more information, call Boehman at 952-3580.