Valley Freightliner rises from the ashes

Jason Cannon February 22, 2013

Valley Freightliner was destroyed in an August fire. Valley Freightliner of Cleveland is settling into its new Parma, Ohio facility more than six months after its Brook Park site was destroyed by fire.

A fire raged the morning of Aug. 6 in the truck shop, eventually causing $6 million in damages, including nearly $1 million in parts and approximately a dozen used trucks.

Fire Marshals determined the fire was an act of arson, which eventually turned into an act of betrayal.

William H. Crawley, an employee of the truck store and shop, was eventually charged with arson in connection to the early morning blaze, after allegedly telling co-workers he sought to teach his bosses a lesson. Crawley was convicted earlier this month and sentenced to 16 years in prison on 24 counts of arson and aggravated arson.

Valley Freightliner officially relocated in December to Parma, but unofficially, they relocated before the fire department rolled up their hoses.

The company was in the process of opening a Hino dealership in Medina, Ohio at the time of the fire, but hadn’t stocked the lot with inventory yet.

That became the new Valley Freightliner…and Hino…and parts for both…and service for both…and everything else for everybody else.

“It was tight in there,” Valley Vice President Brian O’Donnell says of the location built for less than 15 employees that was serving as home base for more than 50.

Employees watched in horror that August morning as their jobs burned to the ground.Employees watched in horror that August morning as their jobs burned to the ground, but O’Donnell went quickly to work in putting out those assumptions as the firefighters worked to put out the flames.

“We were selling Freightliner parts that afternoon,” he said, “and we even sold a used truck that evening. We weren’t stopping and we weren’t giving up.”

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