A look ahead: Big Equipment is making a comeback

Posted at 12:49 PM, Dec 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-25 14:50:05-05

One year ago on Christmas Eve, a fire devastated Big Equipment Company in Havre.

Witnesses reported seeing thick black smoke from miles away that afternoon and flames shooting almost 20 feet into the air.

Multiple crews worked to put out the fire, which closed Highway 87 for several hours.

The Harmon family looked at rebuilding the same night of the fire and they are excited to announce that this spring, Big Equipment will officially be back up and running.

Tim Harmon told MTN that Big Equipment has more people employed now than before the fire.

He said it is a testament to their level of commitment to their customers, employees, and community.

Harmon released the following statement in regards to the anniversary of the fire.

“Although we have dealt with much adversity over the past year, we have been blessed to be in such a supportive community and to have employees who have worked hard to keep Big Equipment a thriving business.”

-Reported by Elizabeth Transue/MTN News

(May 16, 2018) Big Equipment in Havre has been around for decades.

“Big Bud in our community, everyone knows Big Bud,” Big Equipment co-owner Tim Harmon said.

But Christmas Eve of 2017 will be a day they will never forget. Big Equipment caught fire.

“I was just in shock. Such a sprawling facility to be reduced to nothing, just gone,” Tim said.

That fire took hours to put out and smoke could be seen smoldering for days.

Both Ron, Tim’s dad and fellow owner, and Tim were out of town when their business sparked. Tim was enjoying a weekend in Arizona and Ron was with family in Missoula.

“Tears came to my eyes and I just kind of sat there. I didn’t know what our future was at that point. I didn’t know what the plan was. My heart sunk, literally sunk,” Tim recalled.

But the Harmon attitude is strong. That night, on Christmas Eve, Ron drove to the site and met with their insurance agency.

“Looking back doesn’t really do anybody much good,” Ron said.

There was no doubt in his mind that they would rebuild.

Days after the devastating fire, Ron called for a meeting. He stood in front of all his employees and made a promise. A promise to not just rebuild, but to come back bigger and better than ever.

“It was super empowering. I felt so proud to be his son,” Tim recalled listening to his dad in front of his employees. “I felt so proud that he cared so much for not just our customers, but our employees as well. One of my more proud moments watching my dad.”

“One thing that constantly does happen is change. Some days it’s not seen as a positive change, other days it is. We like to think that we think positively,” Ron said.

The Harmons are ready for new beginnings.

“We’re going to have a brand new facility. It’s going to be landscaped nicely, and look good aesthetically from the road. I also think we will be employing more people moving forward,” Tim said.

“I think the end result is were going to be much stronger, better company going forward than we were in the past. We thought we were doing okay so I think well do okay and maybe a little better than okay going forward,” Ron said.

They plan to break ground soon. Ron and Tim said they hope to be up and running within a year.

“You can’t replace everything you lost but what you can do is survive and be able to move forward, which we are certainly trying to do,” Ron said.

And although the physical stuff may be gone, the memories are there forever.

“As a kid, I would taunt my friends. ‘You know my dad built the largest tractor in the world?” Tim laughs.