ANNA — A fire late Friday night in Anna resulted in extensive damage to a four-unit apartment building on the west side of the village.
The fire was first reported about 10:48 p.m. as an unknown type of structure fire at the corner of West Main Street and Brookside Drive, and it was initially unclear if the building was occupied. Smoke and a glow from the fire could be seen from miles away.
Upon arrival, Anna Fire crews found heavy fire coming from an end unit of the building at 101 Brookside Drive. According to Anna Fire Chief Tim Bender, due to the volume of fire and type of building, a second alarm was quickly called to summon dozens of additional fire personnel and apparatus from seven neighboring departments to assist in battling the blaze.
Hindering firefighter’s efforts was a flaming natural gas meter on the north side of the building, adjacent to the burning apartment. Crews aggressively attacked the fire, preventing it from spreading to the other units in the building, and bringing the blaze under control in about an hour. The end unit, apartment D, sustained extensive fire damage to the structure and contents. Apartments B and C sustained smoke and/or water damage, while apartment A appeared to have minimal damage, according to Bender. The intense heat melted the siding off a neighboring residence.
Neighbors alerted occupants of the burning building and other nearby residences about the fire and helped get people out.
“I walked out my neighbor’s back door and heard a hiss and saw flames and three little kids running through the shadows,” said Chris Edwards, who lives in the neighborhood and ran down to help. “The next house, beside where the fire’s at, I actually knocked their two top windows out of their house to get people out.”
Chief Bender said nobody was injured in the fire, and firefighters were able to rescue a family cat from the burning apartment. Officials estimated the damage to the buildings and personal property to be around $300,000. The fire is believed to have begun on the outside of the building and the cause is under investigation; however, it is not believed to be suspicious, according to Bender.
In a Facebook post, the Anna Police Department said the family in the most heavily damaged unit had just moved to the apartment in the spring, and lost almost everything. Donations of furniture, household goods, clothing, and cleaning supplies for the family of five are being accepted Monday, Sept. 7, from noon until 2 p.m. at 12333 Wenger Road in Anna. Additional information on clothing sizes for the adults and children can be found on the Anna Police Department’s Facebook page.
Fire crews from Botkins, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Minster, New Bremen, Sidney, and Van Buren Township provided mutual aid to Anna fire crews on the scene for several hours. Anna Rescue also assisted at the scene. The Shelby County Sheriff’s office, Anna Police, Botkins Police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol helped with traffic control and blocked state Route 119 near the fire scene.