SMOOT, W.Va. — The sawmill that shares this small community’s name was filled with activity Monday morning. Employees were unloading enormous tree trunks, feeding roaring saws and sorting wood by source and grade.
Those activities are signs the Smoot sawmill is making a comeback after a blaze engulfed the facility in December 2013, destroying half of the production building where timber is cut and sorted.
AWP’s President John Crites II told the audience the company is dedicated to Smoot and operating “this mill in this community.”
The mill was one of three purchased from Beckley’s New River Hardware in late 2014. The rebuilding allowed AWP to convert the sawmill into a state-of-the-art facility. During a tour, visitors observed sawyers using lasers to properly align timber and consulting information panels for instructions.
The mill’s 28 employees returned to the Smoot sawmill last month after nearly a year of traveling to another sawmill in Beckley. When the Smoot facility reopened, all new equipment was purchased as part of $3 million in additional investments to the acquisition costs…