A fire breaks out in Bates Collison on Buffalo Road in Wesleyville around 1:15 Sunday afternoon – quickly filling the air with heavy smoke.
Nia Zimmer, who witnessed the fire, says, “I was at Country Fair getting gas. Saw a little bit of smoke. Next thing I know there’s a lot of smoke. People were yelling ‘we’re calling 9/11.’ a few minutes later there some of the firemen here in their personal vehicles. A few minutes after that the trucks started pulling up.”
Wesleyville Fire Department Deputy Chief Joe Ball says the shop was heavily damaged by the blaze.
However, he says crews were able to keep majority of the fire damage to the front of the building except for water and smoke damage to the rest of the building.
Ball says, “There’s heavy fire damage throughout the whole structure. We’re just going to do some looking around to see how bad it is. It’s pretty bad inside.”
Ball also saying the smoke from the fire may have caused damage to the restaurant – Coney Island – next door.
Ball says, “I’d say some smoke damage. No water damage other than the outside of the structure.”
Zimmer says, “Coney’s a frequent stop at our house. On my way home from work they made dinner for my husband many time. I’m just hoping there isn’t any real damage.”
Ball says there were cars inside the repair shop, but is unsure of how many at this time.
He says both businesses were closed so no one was inside either building at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.
Zimmer says, “It’s a tragedy. But thankfully so far no one’s been hurt.”
The fire closed down Buffalo Road between Eastern Avenue down to Station Road for several hours.
Ball says about eight to nine different departments assisted Wesleyville on the fire.
Ball says they were able to get the fire under control in about an hour and half to two hours.
The fire marshal was on scene Sunday night and the cause is still under investigation.