Ohio Fire Destroys 1.5 Tons of Potato Salad For Festival

Aug. 22--The German-American Festival that kicks off today already has had overwhelming support from volunteers who are coming out to help make homemade potato salad following a fire in one of its refrigeration trucks that destroyed a ton and a half of it.

"We've had continuous phone calls since people started hearing about the fire," said Event Chairman Tim Pecsenye. "It's really heart-warming to see the quick and overwhelming response to this incident."

Mr. Pecsenye said late this morning that volunteers, who are asked to arrive beginning at noon today, are asked "to bring a bowl and a paring knife" to help peel potatoes that arrived on scene and are being boiled. The festival will provide gloves to volunteers.

About 250-300 pounds of potato salad are typically consumed on a Friday night, with Saturday and Sunday being the busier festival times, he said.

"The German-American Festival cannot happen each year without the hard work of thousands of volunteers," Mr. Pecsenye said. "They've worked so hard already, but they're the first ones to respond. I'm really touched by their support."

The festival had initially considered purchasing commercial potato salad but has since decided to try and make it in time for the event scheduled to start at 6 tonight.

Oregon firefighters responded to a fire report at 5:46 a.m. at the festival's Oak Shade Grove in Oregon. The fire tore through the roof of the refrigeration truck, and between the fire and the water damage, the contents of the vehicle were a total loss.

In addition to the potato salad, six 55-gallon drums of sauerkraut, as well as eggs and pickles, were lost.

The annual festival runs through Sunday night.

The cost of the damage to the food and the truck, which belonged to the festival, has not been calculated yet, Mr. Pecsenye said.

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