Roof repairs may have sparked Garrettsville fire - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Roof repairs may have sparked Garrettsville fire

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GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio - The small village of Garrettsville is coping with the aftermath of a huge fire that destroyed more than a dozen main Street businesses.

The blaze that started Saturday afternoon demolished an entire historic block of Main Street, including a 160-year-old village landmark.

Firefighters from 30 departments in three counties battled the flames.

Now it's just a pile of rubble, and a chimney from a landmark building that stood on this corner since the 1850s. Investigators suspect that work being done on the roof of that building may be what started the fire.

"We're in the process of finding out what type of roofing work they were doing," said Jeff Koehn, an investigator with the State Fire Marshall. "Were they hot sealing, were they doing tar roofing, we're just not sure yet. So we're trying to find them and make sure we know exactly what they we're doing at the time of the fire."

Tom Brest from Sharon, Pennsylvania has worked in the village for 20 years. "I'm just stunned. It's unbelievable. It's a real part of history here in Garrettsville," Brest said.

Judy Bisard, who owns an antique store on the opposite side of Main Street, feels badly for all the people who lost their livelihood. "I'm saddened for the people that don't have a job to go to today or a paycheck in another week or so. Their jobs are gone, it's devastating," Bisard said.

Dale Shiffer's clock repair shop was destroyed. He's insured, but he won't be rebuilding because most of what he lost is irreplaceable. "A multitude of things; hand tools, parts, things that I've collected for a quarter of a century," Shiffer said.

As the rubble is removed, the hope is that the block will be rebuilt and in a style of the period that was lost.

"That's what brings people to these small towns is the uniqueness, the architecture, hopefully we can continue that," Bisard said.

A total dollar loss from the fire has yet to be been determined.

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