Share This Page

Old buildings may have sped spread of Ohio fire

| Sunday, March 23, 2014, 9:36 p.m.

GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio — 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 blaze, the fire chief said on Sunday.

Chief Jeff Kaiser of Garrettsville's fire department said two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation but weren't seriously injured. The blaze swept through a historic downtown block on Saturday afternoon, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported.

Police 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.

Thirteen businesses in four buildings were affected. Three of the four buildings were made of wood and were built in the 1800s, before modern fire codes, Kaiser said Sunday.

The Portage County fire investigation unit and state fire marshal's office are trying to determine the cause of the blaze.

A barbershop, several novelty shops and a food pantry were among the businesses lost, Mayor Rick Patrick said. Most of the businesses had people inside 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.

Kim 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 said. “It's gone.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.