It is scary when a huge fire breaks out in your neighborhood. Residents in West Columbus, Ohio were witness to a large warehouse fire during the early morning of December 14th. The fire erupted into flames at a warehouse building on the 2600 block of Fisher Road in Columbus. Firefighters received a call around 3:30 am from the alarm company which provided services to the warehouse. Over 24 fire trucks and 75 firefighters arrived on scene to help contain the fire. Fortunately investigators were able to determine the cause of the fire through community involvement, and were able to capture the suspect believed to have started the fire.
Destruction of the west side warehouse
Firefighters on scene initially thought the fire was small, as they only saw smoke coming off the roof line, and saw sprinklers going off inside the building. The fire actually spread much further than they thought, and firefighters were evacuated from the building because they believed the walls and roof were ready to collapse. There was no hazardous material inside of the building, and no potential for explosion. Dozens of firefighters worked to battle the flames and it took several hours for the fire to be completely put out. This had to do with trouble the firefighters ran into in locating a good water supply. It was estimated that about 80 percent of the 189,000 square foot building was destroyed by the fire.
Fire causes issues in the area
Because the large blaze continued well into the morning hours, two local schools were forced to cancel classes. North Franklin Elementary School in the South Western district and Columbus Preparatory Academy charter school were both closed on Monday to make sure all students were safe. Local residents in an apartment complex nearby were not evacuated, as the fire did not spread past the warehouse thanks to the way the winds were blowing. No major streets nearby were affected by the fire. Fire officials were able to start going through debris on Tuesday morning.
Warehouse fire determined to be arson
Robin W. Toms of the 3000 block of Jersey Drive was arrested and charged with a first- degree felony, aggravated arson, for starting the warehouse fire. The thirty year old had no prior arson charges on record, but did have minor arrests for a few misdemeanor charges including domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Toms did not live far from the scene of the fire. Officials say that the fire was fueled by cardboard and pallets inside the warehouse. Thankfully, nobody was injured as a result of the fire. Miker DeFrancisco, the arson investigator for the case said that Toms did confess to starting the fire. There is no known motive for why Toms might have wanted to burn down the warehouse.
This is not the first big warehouse fire to erupt in the Columbus area. A Southside recycling business burned for days in May of this year due to strong winds. The city was fortunate to have an amazing set of first responders on scene to contain the fire and make sure nobody got injured in the process.