Saturday, June 02, 2001

Fire crews battle blazes in pair of vacant houses

Smoke draws gawkers; one owner suspects vandals by By Kristina Goetz The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — They were only two vacant houses, but the corner of 16th and Greenup streets in Covington was the place to be Friday night.

        Neighbors and passersby who saw a big, black plume of smoke from Interstate 75 pulled over to watch as 30 firefighters battled a blaze that started about 8 p.m.

        “I saw the smoke from probably about a half-mile away, so I drove over here and got out,” said Covington resident Bill Miller.

[photo] Covington firefighter Nick Nazzarine awaits a hose at the roof of an abandoned house at Greenup and 16th streets in Covington.
(Yuli Wu photo)
| ZOOM |
        “There was a lot of smoke from the roof and the building next door caught on fire, too.

        “You don't get to see these too often. ... It's kind of exciting.”

        Fire officials said the damage to both buildings in the 1600 block of Greenup Street is substantial but could not give a dollar amount. They were still on the scene hours later to make sure the fire didn't rekindle.

        Firefighters from Ludlow, Taylor Mill, Fort Mitchell and Independence manned for Covington stations during the fire.

        Linda Stith, who owns the three-story house on the corner, said she believes someone may have set the fire.

        “We've had a problem with vandalism,” she said. “We were here cutting the grass Tuesday and screwed the doors shut.”

        Ms. Stith, who has owned the building for about 10 years, said she was renovating the house but that the electricity was not turned on.

        Ms. Stith said she was glad that at least no one was hurt.

        “(And) well, things can be replaced,”she said. “It's a building. There's insurance.”

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