Cluster of buildings burn in Wellsville

WELLSVILLE – A cluster of abandoned structures on the west side of the village burned in a fire at the corner of Main and 18th streets early Monday morning.

Firefighters arrived at 1747 Main St. shortly before 2 a.m. to find a fire that was rapidly spreading from the corner building, site of a former bar, to the debris pile from an adjacent abandoned structure that had been razed only a month before. The third structure was a house that also was empty due to the danger of collapse from the center building before it was demolished.

Though fire crews finally left the scene at 11:30 a.m., one engine was called back to the corner Monday afternoon for firefighters to douse hot spots that were smoldering. Both of the buildings that were standing at the time of the fire were destroyed.

Residents living in the vicinity of the fire lost electrical service when flames scorched a nearby utility pole holding a power transformer. AEP Ohio repair crews were on the scene before 3 a.m. and had power restored to customers before noon.

Wellsville sent 11 firefighters in two fire engines and a rescue unit, and were assisted by Highlandtown and Liverpool Township firefighters, as well as personnel from Tri-County Ambulance. No injuries were reported.

The fire was so large and the heat from its flames so intense that vinyl siding on the front of Curt Myers’ home, located across 18th Street from the buildings, was warped.

“My nephew put that on there about two or three years ago,” he said. “I’ve got to redo it all over again now.”

Myers says he first noticed the fire at approximately 2:15 a.m. According to Myers, the fire moved quickly. “By the time I got out of my bed and looked out the window, the whole front floor was fully engulfed. By the time I came out the door, it was gone,” he said.

On the other side of the flames, residents and fire crews hosed down a neighboring mobile home on Main Street to keep it from being damaged. The heat was intense enough to melt plastic window blinds in the windows facing the fire.

According to Wellsville Fire Chief Bill Smith, officials from the state fire marshal’s office were on the scene and are continuing an investigation.