November 23, 2014

Elyria
Showers
54°F
test

Chief: Cause of Wellington fire may stay unknown

WELLINGTON — The fire that swept through the former Wagner/POV Products building Monday night went through with speed, force and intensity, and when it was extinguished, it may have taken the cause right along with it.

Wellington fire Chief Robert J. Walker said investigators will do as much examination as possible but are not optimistic that a cause for the massive blaze will ever be known.

“It will be nearly impossible to tell how the fire started,” Walker said. “Right now, the cause is being listed as undetermined.”

The fire, which started shortly before 11 p.m. Monday in the northwest corner of the building between the first and second floors, lit up the sky with bright shooting flames and smothered the air with thick smoke. Firefighters from Wellington and seven surrounding communities battled the blaze into the wee hours of Tuesday morning until nothing remained of a portion of the building but a smoldering pile of rubble.

The building was empty as Wagner/POV Products ceased operations at the 127-year-old warehouse on Depot and Main streets in January. Built in 1880 for the Horr-Warner Co., it was originally used as a cheese warehouse. It was also once used as a potato chip warehouse and most recently a bird seed and small animal feed factory under Wagner’s.

It was built with three-foot brick walls and thick timber support beams, much of which crumbled in the fire or was subsequently brought down by firefighters for safety reasons.

No damage estimates were available Wednesday as a company spokeswoman said owners and insurance adjustors were still touring the damage.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.