Evacuees react to 3 alarm fire

HARRISON TWP., Ohio (WDTN) – Saturday afternoon the 2000 block of Drill Avenue was a very different scene from Friday’s dangerous 3 alarm fire.

Few people could be seen lining nearby streets to take cover from the dangerous fire at Alpine Metal Finishing.

The building has now been deemed a total loss, but officials report no one was injured or died in the incident.

However, more than 120 people were forced to evacuate; 2NEWS spoke with some of them Saturday afternoon.

Many, like Dixie Kirkwood described the event as it unfolded.

“There were police everywhere,” said the chuckling elderly woman. “Everywhere and uh bless their hearts, there were fire departments from everywhere, which was good”

Kirkwood lives just a block away from the now ravaged building on Drill Avenue.

Friday she says she saw the flames soar through the sky and the explosion pop in the air.

Her daughter saw the fire and quickly went to bring Kirkwood to safety at a home in Vandalia, but still the long-time resident wondered about the safety of her home.

“That’s what I kept thinking myself, you know, it was such a quick fire. I don’t know it was smoldering for a while or what but it went up real quick,” she said

Other neighbors were also later evacuated; officials say they evacuated a quarter mile radius from the north and west which prime danger zones.

Samantha Smith lives right next door to Kirkwood and says her family escaped as fast as she could.

“I asked the officer, you know, ‘Is there any reason we should be alarmed? Do we need to grab stuff?’ and he said better safe then sorry so we kind of grabbed some valuables got them in the car and went to were they told us. We waited there for a couple hours and went to a relatives house for the night,” said Smith.

Shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday most local residents were allowed back in their homes, but now some have new concerns about the clean-up of toxic chemicals that has begun.

“It definitely makes you think about where you’re– I mean it’s anywhere you’re gonna live, but it definitely makes you think that at any given moment anything could be taken away from you, especially when you’re asked to evacuate and you don’t have any answers,” said Smith.

Official answers as to what caused this fire may take some time according to authorities, who will now sift through the rubble for any clues.

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