Fire closes Tiffin Mall for day

Most stores in Tiffin Mall were closed Sunday due to an early-morning fire that left smoke throughout the building.

Tiffin Fire Rescue Division was summoned to the mall, 870 W. Market St., at 4:22 a.m. Sunday. Chief Bill Ennis said the fire was in a back store room on the north side of the mall, and mats were on fire.

Heidelberg University’s track and field program uses the space, which previously housed a furniture store, for indoor practice.

The cause of the fire was under investigation Sunday.

“We have to do some (looking),” Ennis said.

Ennis said the fire alarm went off, and the sprinkler head went off, containing the fire.

“We started one line in,” he said.

Crews were at the scene for about three and a half hours. The fire was under control at 5:22 a.m. and was out at 6:01 a.m. Ennis said the mall would be open today.

A Tiffin Police Department detective responded to the scene. Ennis said it is standard practice to call in a detective. Police and fire crews were investigating the fire together.

“That’s the city fire investigation unit,” Ennis said.

Ennis said only eight people were on duty at Tiffin Fire Rescue Division at the time of the fire, and the division went to a first alarm, which brought one off-duty shift of personnel in to work. He said he believed about 15 firefighters were at the scene.

Smoke removal was the biggest need, he said.

Smoke made its way into the main part of the mall. Ennis said there was smoke throughout the mall’s center court, and stores with openings in their gates had smoke inside.

J.C. Penney was open normal hours Sunday. Ennis said the store has a block wall and glass doors between the store and the mall. The glass doors prevented the smoke from entering the store, he said.

“I think they’re (going to) be OK,” he said.

Ennis said he did not know the extent of damage at other stores. Water damage was limited to the room where the fire started, he said.

A Super Bowl bingo event that was supposed to be in the mall Sunday was postponed a week. The decision to postpone it was based on weather and the smoke from the fire.

According to information from John Sherer, Tiffin Mall’s bingo hall coordinator, officials set up fans inside and outside the bingo hall to force the smoke away from the room. It helped greatly, but the smell still lingered, it states.

No one was injured in the fire.