BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Boardman Fire Department will be investigating the cause of Tuesday’s fire that destroyed Allstate Insurance Agency, a Subway Restaurant, and M-Sanko Studio of Photography in the 8100 block of Market Street in Boardman.
Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire, which they estimate caused $750,000 in damage to the building it burned and $350,000 to supplies and merchandise inside.
Investigators from the state’s fire marshal’s office and private insurance companies will assist the investigation.
The fire department had been called to the same plaza twice earlier in June for the report of a smoke smell, but thermal imaging cameras found nothing, and the source of the smell couldn’t be determined.
Tuesday afternoon’s fire occurred on what was the hottest day of the year to date.
About 60 firefighters from Boardman, Poland and Beaver Township were all working together to contain the fire that took over an entire building in the 8100 block of Market Street and briefly shut down the road.
Allstate Insurance, M. Sanko Studio of Photography and Subway were all destroyed in the blaze.
“We see some smoke and it all just happened so fast,” said witness John Sallmen.
“When we rolled up here, we seen white smoke billowing out of the back of the building and our first instinct is it’s probably a fire, so we rolled up here and I was calling 911,” said witness Michael Gurriero.
“As soon as we got across the street I went into Subway, told everyone to get out as soon as possible there’s a fire and we got everybody out as soon as we could. We did the best we can to help everybody out and waited for the fire department to show up and hopefully got it under control,” said witness Zach Williams.
When firefighters arrived on scene, flames already were coming through the roof. Investigators don’t know what started it, but think it originated in the middle of the building.
Firefighters said gusty winds were an issue when battling the blaze.
“The smoke issue is a real problem because the whole front, you couldn’t even see across Market Street when we pulled up, so that was a real issue,” said Boardman Assistant Fire Chief Don Kloes.
The heat and humidity did not make it easy for the men and women working to put the fire out and with all that protective gear on, it makes it that much hotter.
“You have to stay hydrated and it really shortens your work like in a situation like this,” Kloes said. “And that is why we called mutual aid. We wanted as much manpower as possible.”
But this isn’t the first time the fire department was called to this same building. Firefighters were called to the plaza several times about three weeks ago.
“We were here for a strange odor, I wouldn’t even call it a smoke odor. It was just a strange electrical odor. We were unable to find anything and we have not had any complaints since,” Kloes said.
No one was injured in Tuesday’s blaze.