E. Market housing burns

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Firefighters work at the scene of the East Market Street fire Friday afternoon.

A fire in downtown Tiffin displaced four people from two apartments Friday afternoon.

Chief Kevin Veletean of Tiffin Fire Rescue Division said the fire started in 10 1/2 E. Market St. and spread to an adjacent apartment upstairs. Both apartments were on the west side of the building, and multiple rooms in both apartments sustained significant fire damage, he said.

Veletean said the fire started in the living room at 10 1/2 E. Market St., but the cause was undetermined Friday night due to the extent of the damage.

The fire displaced a couple and a 3-month-old baby girl in the apartment where it started and a man in the other apartment. American Red Cross was summoned to assist.

No one was hurt, Veletean said.

The fire was reported at 12:35 p.m. A first alarm immediately was struck, which called in all off-duty Tiffin Fire Rescue Division crew members.

Veletean said when the crew arrived, fire was coming out two windows and an upstairs balcony door. It also was coming out the rear of the building, along the roof line, he said.

With the amount of fire and the size of the building, Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department and Fostoria Fire Division were summoned as mutual aid, he said.

Several minutes later, Bascom Joint Fire District’s engine also was summoned as mutual aid.

Kansas Volunteer Fire Department personnel stood by at Bascom’s fire station to cover the west end of the county, according to Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.

Also, Republic EMS, Scipio-Republic Fire Department and the county’s Echo unit handled a medical call for Tiffin Fire Rescue Division and Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department at 12:45 p.m.

Veletean said the East Market Street fire was under control in an hour and a half and extinguished in two hours to two and a half hours.

Firefighters started with an interior attack, but the configuration of the upstairs changed the attack mode. They were on the opposite side of the wall from the fire and had a difficult time finding it, so Veletean had them withdraw.

Eventually, they transitioned back inside.

Veletean said the fire burned through the ceiling but not the roof. Firefighters put holes in the roof to gain access, he said.

State Fire Marshal’s Office representatives assisted at the scene.

“(They came) to assist me in doing the investigation,” Veletean said.

Snow and rain fell on firefighters as they worked.

Veletean said the city’s public works department was able to salt the area quickly. Snow had not started falling when crews started fighting the fire. They didn’t have problems with the weather until after they were at the scene, he said.

Tiffin Police Department assisted with traffic, and American Electric Power and Columbia Gas crews were summoned to cut utilities to the building.

Market Street downtown was closed for several hours as crews fought the fire. One lane of the one-way street eventually was opened, with the other remaining closed into the evening.

The last crew finished at the scene around 8 p.m.