Fire damages downtown apartments

A New Year’s Day fire forced residents of the Gold Bond apartment building, 154 S. Washington St., from their downtown residences.

A fire alarm Wednesday night notified rescue personnel of the fire. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 9:54 p.m. and found smoke in an apartment.

Chief Bill Ennis of Tiffin Fire Rescue Division said the fire started on the third floor. It was in the walls, got into the ceiling and attic area and went across the back portion of the building.

“I don’t think there’s any damage to the roof itself,” he said.

The building sustained water and fire damage, and firefighters had to pull down the ceiling to get to the fire.

Ennis estimated the building has 20 apartments. The cause and the number of apartments that were damaged were unknown Wednesday night. A damage estimate was unavailable.

No fire-related injuries were reported as of 11:45 p.m. Wednesday. A woman was transported to Mercy Tiffin Hospital after falling on ice behind the building. Ennis said he did not think it was related to the fire.

Ennis said it was the equivalent of a third-alarm fire. All Tiffin firefighters responded, Fostoria Fire Division provided a ladder truck, Bascom fire and EMS personnel were stationed at Station 1 and Clinton Volunteer Fire Department was stationed at Station 2.

Tiffin Police Department personnel also responded to the scene, and the Red Cross was contacted for assistance.

Firefighters worked with the temperature hovering around 20 degrees and with snow falling. Ennis said the weather did not affect firefighting efforts Wednesday night. The interior steps of the building got icy as the night went on.

“(The weather) makes it miserable for us,” he said.

Residents were allowed to wait in the lobby of the apartment building to stay warm once firefighters deemed it was safe.

Ray Scott, who moved into his third-floor apartment exactly one month before Wednesday’s fire, was in bed watching television when the fire started.

“My wife said, ‘What is that? What is that?'” he recalled about hearing the alarms.

Scott got his wife, sister-in-law and dog out of the apartment and could smell smoke once he got outside.

“I called the building manager,” he said.

Scott said he had not gotten renter’s insurance yet because he only had lived there a month. He and his wife had moved back to the area from Florida to be near family living in Fostoria. He said he liked living in the apartment building because of the convenience of being downtown, and he said it has a lot of character.

“My daughter told me about (the building). (We) liked what we saw,” he said.

As firefighters worked at the scene, Scott’s wife and dog waited in a warm car. He said his dog didn’t like the sound of the alarm going off in the building.

The couple was prepared to stay with family in Fostoria if necessary.