Friday, September 06, 2002

Blaze destroys Monroe building

Spectacular fire visible for miles

By David Eck,
Enquirer contributor

        MONROE — An electrical transformer sparked a spectacular blaze Thursday that destroyed a large business storage building along Interstate 75 near Ohio 63.

[photo] A large storage building burned Thursday morning.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        No one was inside the building when the fire started and there were no injuries, fire officials said.

        A pickup, bathroom fixtures, wood and dozens of truck tires stored in the building were destroyed. The building at 340 Breaden Drive was used by nearby Monroe Car Care Center.

        A damage estimate was not available, fire officials said.

        Firefighters did save a boat that was in the structure. Witnesses said the transformer at the rear of the long, narrow building exploded about 9:35 a.m., and the sparks ignited overgrown grass and brush. The fire then quickly spread to the building.

[photo] A firefighter rests while fighting the blaze.
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        “There was fire in the building when we first got here,” Monroe Fire Chief Mark Neu said. “The dryness caused the grass to take off. There was a lot of brush back there behind this building.”

        Firefighters fought the fire from inside the structure for about 30 minutes, but were forced out when the building started to collapse, the chief said. The smoky, stubborn fire was brought under control in about an hour, Chief Neu said. Crews remained on the scene nearly four more hours, the chief said.

        James Moreland, who owns Monroe Car Care Center, watched as heavy smoke and fire shot from his storage building. Firefighters used several hoses and a Middletown aerial truck to pour water on the blaze.

        Smoke could be seen for several miles on I-75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road. Even after the fire was under control, the burning tires caused thick black smoke to pour from the structure.


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