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Abandoned building burns; arson suspected

40 p.m. on Thursday. The fire engulfed an abandoned building on the corner of 4th street and 6th avenue. Michael Fowler. the public information officer, said they could not enter the building initially due to the risk of collapse. Fowler expects firefighters to be on the scene for one or two days. There are no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters.

The Columbus Division of Fire responded to a fire at an abandoned building at the corner of Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue Thursday evening.

Michael Fowler, public information officer for the Columbus Division of Fire, said there are no apparent natural causes, so the department suspects arson. He said there was no way to get inside.

“The walls have started to buckle; the threat of collapse is still present; we cannot go in yet,” Fowler said. “It will take a day or two to get inside there.”

Fowler said homeless people were known to live inside the building, so there is no way to know if there were any injuries. He said there are no civilian injuries reported yet.

There were no injuries to firefighters, Fowler said, but a few guys were up on ladders and experienced increased smoke inhalation and heat exposure.

“They all had their respirators on, so there’s no problem,” Fowler said.

Fowler said there were about 50 firefighters, four ladders and seven engines at the scene. Several other emergency response vehicles, including ambulances and Columbus Police Department units, also responded.

Authorities had several streets around the fire blocked off and several hoses running through the neighborhood to the scene.

Wes Clodfelter, a resident of 1223 Fourth St., said he heard the engines at about 6:40 p.m., and went out to his porch to watch the fire.

Clodfelter said he thought the fire was arson or that one of the homeless residents that live there caused it.

“I asked one of the firefighters to see if this was a training exercise,” Clodfelter said. “They said no.”

Fowler said the building has been abandoned for 10–15 years.

Fowler said a lot of the fuel for the fire came from the wooden floors and beams. The only thing not burning was the brick on the outside.

Fowler said the investigation is ongoing and that more information will become available once they can get inside. 

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