WOOD COUNTY (WTOL) - 2 people have been killed and 1 is missing after fire ripped through a Weston apartment building.
At least 20 people have lost their homes in the blaze that happened after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Crews say it was a very large fire that started quickly. There were 28 people in the building at the time.
The Red Cross is helping victims with food and clothing at the Weston Fire Hall.
The intense fire melted siding on a building across the street. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshn says flames shot 80 feet in the air and could be seen from Bowling Green.
Fire crews from Weston, Milton Township, Washington Township, Grand Rapids and Bowling Green responded.
"They did a great job of knocking down the fire quickly," says Wasylyshn.
"We had about half the building, the whole rear part, fully engulfed in flames. Being a small department, we're not used to dealing...with a fire of this magnitude on a regular basis. The guys did an excellent job," says Weston Fire Chief Randy Tolles who suffered an ankle injury.
The State Fire Marshall's office is on scene and investigating the cause of the fire.
The building is considered a total loss.
State Fire Marshal News Release:
Division of State Fire Marshal
July 13, 2008
Walnut Street, Weston (Wood County)
- Division of State Fire Marshal fire investigators and code enforcement inspectors are on the scene of a fire in Wood County.
- There are two (2) confirmed fatalities. At this time, all that is known is that the victims are adult males. Identity and ages are unknown. The victims were taken to the Lucas County Coroner's Office.
- The victims are the 93rd and 94th confirmed fire fatalities of 2008 in the State of Ohio.
- Approximately 30 people were living in the single-family home which was added on to and converted into a multi-family dwelling.
- Fire investigators are continuing their on-scene investigation to determine the origin and cause of the fire. Code enforcement inspectors will be looking into any possible fire code violations that may have resulted from the change of use of the building from a single family residence to a multi-family dwelling.
- Investigators also are conducting interviews with the occupants, witnesses and first responders. Investigators are receiving assistance from translators as many of the occupants do not speak English.
- The Division of State Fire Marshal is working with the Weston Township Fire Department and the Wood County Sheriff's Office in the investigation. The Division of State Fire Marshal has two investigators, an investigation supervisor, a code enforcement inspector and State Fire Marshal Michael Bell on scene.
Red Cross News Release:
Trained disaster volunteers from the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted seven families after their apartment building in Weston was destroyed early this morning. Twenty-eight individuals were given food, clothing, and shelter and some were provided prescription medications and eyeglasses.
American Red Cross
WTOL.com and News 11 will follow this story and have more details as they become available.