McDaniel Fire Systems shuts its doors

2012-10-26T16:30:00Z 2012-11-08T09:43:04Z McDaniel Fire Systems shuts its doorsBowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
October 26, 2012 4:30 pm  • 

Valparaiso fire protection equipment company McDaniel Fire Systems' doors were closed Friday, apparently for good based on a sign posted at the business.

"After 75 years of serving the community, sadly, McDaniel Fire Systems is being forced to shut down due to the failure of its bank to extend financing terms," read a note posted inside the business.

Calls placed to the business Friday afternoon were not returned. A call placed Friday afternoon to a McDaniel Fire System office in Champaign, Ill., was not returned. Messages left with officials from the company's owner, the Freedom Group LLC, were not returned Friday afternoon.

About 80 people were employed for the company in Valparaiso as recently as 2011.

McDaniel Fire Systems, which opened in 1936, designs, fabricates, installs and services fire protection and suppression systems.

More than three years ago, the Illinois-based private investment firm Freedom Group closed a deal to buy McDaniel Fire Systems for $5 million and assume up to $14.9 million of the company's liabilities.

Soon after the purchase was completed, Freedom Group CFO Ed Carroll told The Times in summer 2009 the company remained in a difficult spot as a result of competitive pressures and the impact the economic downturn had on the construction industry.

"We are still making hard choices and making the company as efficient as possible," Carroll said. "The next 24 to 36 months will tell a lot. It's hard to speculate on what the future could hold."

Prior to the sale, the company was wholly owned by an employee stock option plan. In interviews with The Times three years ago, several current and former employees said they had reservations about the sale and were concerned about how the value of company stock dropped to being worth nothing in 2008.

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