‘It was like nothing I have ever heard before’: Copley winery owner speaks about explosion

COPLEY, Ohio - An explosion in the distillery of The Winery at Wolf Creek occurred shortly after the winery's owner turned on equipment used in the distilling process.

Owner Andy Troutman said he had just finished his usually morning rounds when he heard the explosion around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

"It was like nothing I have ever heard before. There was a loud boom then sort of a whooshing sound," Troutman said.

The explosion and resulting fire damaged the distillery, including several barrels of brandy, as well as office space, storage and an event center. The winery portion of the building used for making and bottling wine and a tasting room were largely spared.

No one was injured.

"The good news is the one end of the building that's open to the public is in tact, and we think we'll be able to reopen, hopefully, soon," Troutman said. "It has been a very dramatic and emotional experience for me personally, but I know with my family and our staff we'll continue to go on and continue to be open."

Copley Fire Chief Michael Benson said distilleries are prone to explosion.

"It was a big and it had alcohol fuel because the distillery makes bourbon and brandy," Benson said. "We got here very quickly and established a heavy water line to put out the fire and keep it only in the distillery area and save the rest of the winery, which everyone in the community really loves."

The winery, which opened in 1984, has been owned by the Troutman family since 2003.

Troutman said they pride themselves on being family friendly.

"The great view is still here, the animals are fine, but unfortunately some of our offices and the distillery and some other things on that end of the building are damaged," Troutman said.

Troutman said the winery is working to accommodate upcoming events scheduled in the damaged Great Room event space. The Winery at Wolf Creek will remain closed Wednesday but plans to reopen as soon as possible.