COLUMBUS GROVE — Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office are looking into the cause of a fire Friday night that destroyed a building at the corner of Sycamore and High streets in Columbus Grove.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from employees of Pizza 101 at 9:52 p.m. Friday.
“It definitely started somewhere in the pizza place,” said Bob Brubaker, Columbus Grove fire chief.
“It was the vent light in the bathroom,” said Pizza 101 owner Todd Hoffman. “I think it had been smoking for a little while in the ceiling. … I’m going to take this day by day with the insurance company and see where we land.”
The fire quickly spread west in the 100 block of West Sycamore Street.
The building housed several businesses including Pizza 101, Heffner Printing, Bloom Boutique and the Rowdy Rooster Cafe. They were all destroyed.
The Putnam County Auditor’s Office indicates the property at 101 N. High St., the Pizza 101 location, was valued at $46,570.
The Rowdy Rooster at 107 W. Sycamore St. is owned by The Rowdy Rooster LLC and was valued at $30,120.
The Heffner Printing location at 111 W. Sycamore St. is owned by Leonard Heffner and was valued at $26,680.
The property at 109 W. Sycamore St., which houses Bloom Boutique is owned by Log Cabin Acres LLC, and is valued at $30,170.
The Columbus Grove Chamber of Commerce wrote on its Facebook page:
“The Columbus Grove community suffered the loss of four small businesses to a devastating fire last night. Heffner Printing, LLC. Family owned and operated printing company for more than 50 years. Bloom Boutique locally owned and operated opened their doors in March 2020. Rowdy Rooster Cafe just recently changed ownership with great aspirations to continue serving those in our community. Pizza 101 is locally owned and operated located on the corner of the town square. Our hearts go out (to) these businesses. We are in this together. From the ashes we will rise. #CGStrong”
A GoFundMe account at https://j.mp/3nOXhJd has been set up to help the businesses displaced by the fire. As of Saturday evening, it had gathered nearly $10,000 of a $40,000 goal.
A joint statement from the businesses displaced expressed thanks to the firefighters and the community for their support.
“We are so thankful for CGFD and all the surrounding communities FD that came out to tackle this fire. No one was hurt — I am so grateful for that. Things are replaceable, but people are not. There truly aren’t any words … we are devastated as a business affected by this, but also devastated as citizens of Columbus Grove. It’s sad to see something so tragic happen to people that put so much time and money back into the community — and also sad to see a historical part of Columbus Grove gone. Town will not look the same!
“But we will rebuild, persist and come out stronger. Columbus Grove is such a supportive community — I’ve already had so many people I’ve never met in this town message me to check on us. I’m so proud to be raising my children here.
“Thank you everyone for your kind words — I have read every comment, message, everything. And thank you for supporting all of our businesses — before the pandemic, during, after quarantine — it’s been quite the year but I’ve made so many new friends through the boutique! I love you all!
“Please think of our businesses and their employees … we lost some really special places over night. And remember to shop small this Christmas!”
Multiple fire departments were called in to fight the blaze including Columbus Grove, Kalida, Pandora, Ottawa, Ft. Jennings, Glandorf, American Township, Bluffton, Ottoville, Cairo and Beaverdam.
Fire crews had to take a defensive stance in fighting the inferno.
“It’s old native lumber, just the way it was put together. The roof, you know, we were not able to get in because of fighting the fire,” Brubaker said.
Three aerial trucks were brought in to fight the fire.
There were concerns about the ability of the village’s water system to handle fire.
“We actually called in for tanker shuttle for water just in case the tower couldn’t keep up but the town’s water supply kept up, but they still used the water shuttle to help ease with using aerials,” Brubaker said.
Columbus Grove, Pandora, Ottawa and Glandorf police departments and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance.
No one was hurt because of the fire.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.