A Historical Loss

by Katie McGraw on December 10, 2013 at 6:09 am

Fire erupted Sunday morning at 19 South Sixth Street, destroying a historic Zanesville building.

Zanesville firefighters battled the blaze for several hours, initially from the inside, until they reached the fourth floor when they discovered most of the floor and roof to the were already burned away.

"At that point, since it is condemned, they decided to abandon and go defensive,” explained ZFD Assistant Fire Chief, Dave Huey. “Instead of risking people inside."

Huey says the fire spread in such a way because of the late 1800’s construction of the building, which made it historical but was its ultimate demise.

"The way the building is constructed, it has several utility chases, basically voids in the walls that they would run plumbing or electric. The fire got into those chases and basically was going to different points throughout the building."

Though the historical landmark was condemned. . . it is considered an architectural loss to the city by many.

"The first store front was made out of cast iron and the second floor windows, above the archway above the windows, had a piano key brick work,” said Membership Services Director Zanesville Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce, Dana Matz. “So I hate to see that lost."

"They were starting to tear it down, of course they were just clawing away at it and here is all this fine steel work just going to waste," said witness and Christ’s Table and Red Cross volunteer, Bob Sprague.

"You don’t get that type of architecture, it’s a shame to see it go, but they require upkeep.” added Huey.

To some people’s dismay, there will not be much of an investigation. Authorities say it was most likely caused from human involvement but not purposeful intent or arson. Huey speculates a homeless person attempting to stay warm.

"There were no services to the building, the lines and everything was still there but there was no electric service, water service or gas into the building and people in that situation will do what they can to survive."

Sadly, the historic building will eventually be demolished.Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting the fire. No other injuries were reported. A portion of Sixth Street is closed from Main Street to South Street until the crumbling remains are demolished.