We were there the first week in July for only a few hours, What a shame this had to happen.
KELLEYS ISLAND — Two businesses and a vacant storefront were destroyed yesterday after a fire ravaged through a Division Street building.
Flames could be seen towering above the now vacant Country Store, 129 Division St.. Also damaged were Vi’s Island Treasures, 125 Division St.; and Papa T’s, 127 Division St., said Kathy Reddinger, owner of Bag the Moon Saloon and an island EMT. She said Division Street was blocked off from spectators and the smoke was thick enough to make people cough.
“It was very bad. There was flames shooting out the roof,” she said. “The place is devastated. The country store is gone, the roof is gone. Papa T’s, the ice cream store, is gutted and gone. Vi’s had a fire wall, so it only got it a little bit. But there is a lot of smoke and water damage in the store.”
Kelleys Island Mayor Rob Quinn said firefighters are unsure of what might have caused the fire, but there was speculation it stemmed from heating and air conditioning work being done in the vacant storefront. He said he was told the fire started on the north side of the building and spread through to the other storefronts and there was some damage to the siding of a neighboring building.
“Vi Feyedelum, who owns Vi’s Island Treasures, had her business there for eight years. So this is very overwhelming for her and her husband, who are thinking about not coming in tomorrow and not being able to turn the key. But the big picture is, no one was hurt and there is most likely insurance to deal with the catastrophic components,” Quinn said.
The building itself was a relatively new structure, Quinn said. He was not told how much monetary damage was done to the building and stores.
“The first thing that came to my mind was getting it contained,” Quinn said. “We operate with a limited volunteer fire department so my concern is we have a very old downtown and if the fire had started jumping buildings, it could have been absolutely catastrophic for the entire island.”
Reddinger said an oxygen and water station was set up for the fire crews battling the blaze. She said several firefighters came to cool down and no one was injured.
“I was right there because I am an EMT and we had a station set up of oxygen and water ... Everybody came and helped. It was very heartwarming to see how many people helped. We had probably 10 to 12 firefighters and there had to be another 15 or 20 that came from the mainland,” she said.
Firefighters from the island, Sandusky, Huron, Marblehead and Lakeside responded to the blaze, according to Sandusky fire Capt. Brian Cowie. Four firefighters were sent from the Sandusky station via fire boat to the island, but the boat was not in the fire. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Sandusky Police Department also sent extra officers, Quinn said
By KELLY METZ and TAYLOR DUNGJEN