MIDNIGHT INFERNO AT HISTORIC DOWNTOWN FACTORY


Three late-night fires ruled arson, bird seed factory burns to the ground

By Jonathan Delozier - jdelozier@aimmediamidwest.com



Firefighters watch flames shoot out from a blaze set inside an old bird seed factory Sunday morning at 225 North Main St. Two other fires were also intentionally set Saturday night and into Sunday morning, one at a residence on Forest Street and the other at the Wellington police auxiliary building on Kelly Street.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

This picture was taken of the birdseed factory fire at full strength from a nearby apartment window.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters from 16 departments across four counties work to put out the blaze from all angles.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

The birdseed factory fire was declared to be under control at 2:20 a.m. Sunday morning.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Smoke and an orange glow could be seen from outside village limits.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters angle a crane over the birdseed factory.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Flames erupt from the birdseed factory.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

EMTs from the South Lorain County Ambulance district attend to a Wellington firefighter.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

A Wellington firefighter gets some much-needed fresh air.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

A crane pours water onto the birdseed factory.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Responders work to get the fire under control just after 2 a.m.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters look through the ruins of the birdseed factory Sunday afternoon.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Salon Image’s building, located directly next to the birdseed factory, was severely damaged in the blaze.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

The interior of Salon Image on Sunday afternoon.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters from Elyria lend a helping hand Sunday morning.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Small pockets of smoke and fire could still be spotted in the charred factory remains Sunday afternoon.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

This truck next to the factory was badly burnt with the sponges it contained left lying on Depot Street.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Residents observe the factory fire Sunday morning.


Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Three fires, the largest burning an old bird seed factory at 225 North Main St. to the ground, ripped their way through Wellington early Sunday morning.

All of the blazes have been classified as arson by the Ohio State Fire Marshal.

No injuries to responders or residents in any of the events have been reported.

Just after midnight on Sunday, Wellington firefighters were the first of 16 units from four counties to respond to the fire at the bird seed factory. Flames also severely damaged a nearby building occupied by Salon Image.

A wall on the north side of the factory collapsed onto the railroad tracks, shutting down train traffic for several hours.

Power went out in parts of the northwest downtown area during the fire was but was mostly restored by Sunday evening. Depot Street will remain closed as the cleanup process begins.

Later on Sunday, it was discovered that arsonists unsuccessfully attempted to set fire to a historical residence at 138 Forest St. sometime the previous night. Occupants said they smelled smoke between 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Saturday and closed their windows, unaware of the smell’s origin until waking up and seeing two spots of damage on the home’s exterior.

The Wellington police auxiliary building at 110 Kelly St. caught fire overnight at an as-yet-undetermined time near an air conditioning unit located on an outside wall. The building suffered exterior and interior damage.

A $5,000 reward has been offered by the Ohio Blue Ribbon Arson Committee for information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the fires. If you have a tip to offer, call the Wellington police at 440-647-2244, fire department at 440-647-2245, or state fire marshal at 800-589-2728.

A GoFundMe has been started for Salon Image owner Jamie Lynn at https://goo.gl/GxWsZ4.

Police chief Tim Barfield said the bird seed factory fire was declared under control around 2:20 a.m. Sunday. The following afternoon, small pockets of fire and smoke could still be seen popping up through the ruins of the building.

“When we got here, it was very, very hot,” Barfield said on the scene early Sunday. “We’ve just been trying to regulate things and keep people back from this fire. Our job was to restore some control when we showed up so the firemen can do what they do.”

One Wellington firefighter was taken to the hospital after receiving oxygen at the scene but is expected to be fine, said fire chief Mike Wetherbee.

“Our first 90 minutes on scene were devoted to concentrating to the south side of Depot Street,” he said while still fighting the blaze. “There was lots of heat. Our firefighter was only taken away for evaluation.”

Multiple residents were spotted dropping off bottled water for firefighters, police, and EMTs.

Resident James Cropp said smoke began to come in through the windows of his apartment on Johns Street Sunday morning.

“The fire must have been 80 feet in the air when I first looked and saw what was going on,” he said as he watched the flames from across the street. “The wind has shifted now but it was blowing right at my building at first. My building is probably 100 or so yards away from the fire.”

The weekend’s incidents are only the latest in several suspicious fires that have been reported in the village since last winter.

In December, a $5,000 reward was offered by the Blue Ribbon Committee for a house fire lit on Clay Street. Less than a half hour before that, a 2002 Dodge Dakota was found in flames on South Main Street.

In May, an outside vestibule at 126 Depot St. was intentionally set on fire.

While there’s no definitive proof linking all of the events, Barfield strongly suspects they could be related.

“We have those fires last year and now three more in one night?” he asked. “That’s just weird and completely out of the norm. I don’t know for sure, but this is all in the same area. Everyone isn’t an arsonist. Boys will play with fire but they’re not trying to destroy a building. I hope this is just one person and not six different people setting houses on fire.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

Firefighters watch flames shoot out from a blaze set inside an old bird seed factory Sunday morning at 225 North Main St. Two other fires were also intentionally set Saturday night and into Sunday morning, one at a residence on Forest Street and the other at the Wellington police auxiliary building on Kelly Street.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0675-1.jpgFirefighters watch flames shoot out from a blaze set inside an old bird seed factory Sunday morning at 225 North Main St. Two other fires were also intentionally set Saturday night and into Sunday morning, one at a residence on Forest Street and the other at the Wellington police auxiliary building on Kelly Street.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

This picture was taken of the birdseed factory fire at full strength from a nearby apartment window.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_21551729_1521900517848165_379153032175342648_o-1.jpgThis picture was taken of the birdseed factory fire at full strength from a nearby apartment window.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters from 16 departments across four counties work to put out the blaze from all angles.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0666-1.jpgFirefighters from 16 departments across four counties work to put out the blaze from all angles.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

The birdseed factory fire was declared to be under control at 2:20 a.m. Sunday morning.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0697-1.jpgThe birdseed factory fire was declared to be under control at 2:20 a.m. Sunday morning.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Smoke and an orange glow could be seen from outside village limits.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_21742817_10203633444273499_529057943990933548_n-1.jpgSmoke and an orange glow could be seen from outside village limits.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters angle a crane over the birdseed factory.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0707-1.jpgFirefighters angle a crane over the birdseed factory.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Flames erupt from the birdseed factory.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_21463275_10203633387592082_7411473774493119360_n-1.jpgFlames erupt from the birdseed factory.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

EMTs from the South Lorain County Ambulance district attend to a Wellington firefighter.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0723-1.jpgEMTs from the South Lorain County Ambulance district attend to a Wellington firefighter.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

A Wellington firefighter gets some much-needed fresh air.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0701-1.jpgA Wellington firefighter gets some much-needed fresh air.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

A crane pours water onto the birdseed factory.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0731-1.jpgA crane pours water onto the birdseed factory.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Responders work to get the fire under control just after 2 a.m.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0663-1.jpgResponders work to get the fire under control just after 2 a.m.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters look through the ruins of the birdseed factory Sunday afternoon.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0751-1.jpgFirefighters look through the ruins of the birdseed factory Sunday afternoon.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Salon Image’s building, located directly next to the birdseed factory, was severely damaged in the blaze.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0762-1.jpgSalon Image’s building, located directly next to the birdseed factory, was severely damaged in the blaze.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

The interior of Salon Image on Sunday afternoon.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0769-1.jpgThe interior of Salon Image on Sunday afternoon.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Firefighters from Elyria lend a helping hand Sunday morning.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0676-1.jpgFirefighters from Elyria lend a helping hand Sunday morning.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Small pockets of smoke and fire could still be spotted in the charred factory remains Sunday afternoon.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0752-1.jpgSmall pockets of smoke and fire could still be spotted in the charred factory remains Sunday afternoon.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

This truck next to the factory was badly burnt with the sponges it contained left lying on Depot Street.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0753-1.jpgThis truck next to the factory was badly burnt with the sponges it contained left lying on Depot Street.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Residents observe the factory fire Sunday morning.
http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0728-1.jpgResidents observe the factory fire Sunday morning.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0709-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0659-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0674-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0706-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0750-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0754-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0692-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0717-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

http://www.thewellingtonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/09/web1_IMG_0729-1.jpg

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise and courtesy photos

Three late-night fires ruled arson, bird seed factory burns to the ground

By Jonathan Delozier

jdelozier@aimmediamidwest.com