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“It brings you just about to tears to see it gone”: Columbus Grove residents react to fire

Nearly 150 years of Columbus Grove history burned down Friday night, destroying four businesses inside.
Published: Nov. 22, 2020 at 12:02 AM EST
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COLUMBUS GROVE, Ohio (WTVG) - A fire Friday night in downtown Columbus Grove destroyed buildings and businesses, and now residents are mesmerized by collapsed walls, falling bricks, and 147 years of shattered history.

The historic buildings located on the city’s main drag on High and Sycamore streets caught fire around 10 p.m. Friday.

“It brings you just about to tears to see it gone,” said resident Connie Ricker. “We knew the people that owned all these places and did business with them, so it’s really sad to see it go.”

Firefighters from across the region -- including Kalida, Pandora, Ottawa, Ft. Jennings, Glandorf, American Township, Bluffton, Ottoville, Cairo, and Beaverdam -- helped Columbus Grove douse the flames.

“We’ve been on scene almost all day, all night, and all day (Saturday) with trying to get the building tore down to make it safe because there’s a lot of hot spots in the building,” said Columbus Grove Chief Bob Reubacker.

Reubacker says an electrical failure inside Pizza 101, a restaurant inside the building, could be to blame. The fire spread quickly, destroying Hefner’s Printing, Bloom Boutique, and the Rowdy Rooster, in addition to Pizza 101.

“We’ve just seen things get better and better in this community,” said Columbus Grove Mayor Ken Wright. “Our business growth was good, and to see this happen it really, really hurts, it’s difficult.”

A Go-Fund-Me account has been set up to support the businesses displaced by the fire. The page has already raised $12,690 dollars of its $40,000 goal.

Community members eyeing what’s left of the downtown staple say they are doing their best to stay positive.

“Until something happens here behind me positive here, it’s going to be very hard here for the community,” said Wright.

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