Old buildings may have speeded spread of Ohio fire


GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The age of several buildings
leveled by a fire in the downtown area of a northeastern Ohio village
may have contributed to the fast spread of the fire, the village’s fire
chief said Sunday.
Chief Jeff Kaiser of Garrettsville’s fire
department said two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation, but weren’t
seriously injured in the blaze that swept through a historic downtown
block on Saturday afternoon, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported.
said the first call about the blaze came in shortly after 1 p.m.
Saturday, saying, "Main Street is on fire," the Akron Beacon Journal
reported. More than 30 fire departments were dispatched to the town of
about 2,200 residents.
A total of 13 businesses in four buildings
were affected by the fire. Three of the four buildings were made of wood
and were built in the 1800s, before modern fire codes, Kaiser said
The Portage county fire investigation unit and state fire
marshal’s office are investigating to determine the cause of the blaze.
barbershop, several novelty shops and a food pantry were among the
businesses lost, according to Mayor Rick Patrick, who said there were
people in most of the businesses when the fire broke out.
"We’re very fortunate everyone got out OK," Patrick said.
Kaiser said it could be several weeks before authorities can determine the dollar amount of the damage.

DelTorto, owner of the Chic & Shabby Resale Shop that was
destroyed, said four people were in her store when someone ran inside to
say the block was on fire.
She said she spent a couple of years restoring the store built in the 1800s and loved that it had its
original tin ceiling.
"I keep thinking about that ceiling," DelTorto told the Beacon Journal. "It’s gone."

Local high school math teacher Dave Opfer, said he knew several of the business owners affected by the
"Everybody kind of knows everybody here," he said. "We’ll all pull together and
from The Associated Press seeking additional comment from police and
fire officials on Sunday weren’t immediately returned.
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