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Fire officials suspect arson at lumber yard


By:  Star Beacon - Shelley Terry

ASHTABULA — A blaze that engulfed the former Dodge Lumber complex was deliberately set, fire officials said Wednesday.

Fire investigators continue to sift through twisted metal, rubble and ash at 615 W. 48th St., searching for answers, Ashtabula Fire Capt. Lyle Hare said.

“The fire is considered an arson,” he said. “We are following up on some leads ... We are investigating the insurance issue and researching the last property owner. There are some issues with it.”

Hare would not comment further.

Fire Marshall Ron Deemer worked at the scene.

No one was injured in the fire, which was reported at 12:55 a.m. Monday and could be seen for several city blocks.

By 1:10 a.m., all of the city’s firefighters — both on- and off-duty — were called in to help extinguish the inferno until 7 a.m., reports show.

Ashtabula Township, Saybrook Township and Geneva firefighters provided mutual aid, reports show.

Electrical power was cut off at about 2:15 a.m. from the Ashtabula Gulf to West 58th Street. First Energy trucks arrived to restore power to the area shortly thereafter.

Ashtabula Public Works crews started to pick up debris from the fire, but there is a lot of work left to do, Hare said.

“We are aware it is an eyesore,” he said. “We are working on getting it cleaned up.”

Hare asked the public for patience as fire investigators dig through the rubble, looking for clues on how the fire started.

Anyone with any information, should call the Ashtabula Fire Department at (440) 992-7192.

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