April 17, 2014

Elyria
Mostly clear
37°F
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Firefighters battle Lorain blaze in frigid temperatures

Fire crews from Lorain and Elyria take a defensive position around a building on Iowa Avenue in Lorain late Tuesday as they battle a fire at the International Party Manufacturing Building. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Fire crews from Lorain and Elyria take a defensive position around a building on Iowa Avenue in Lorain late Tuesday as they battle a fire at the International Party Manufacturing Building. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — With the temperature about 5 degrees, firefighters fought a building fire Tuesday night and early this morning.

A Lorain firefghter is covered in ice as he helps battle a blaze on Iowa Avenue late Tuesday.

A Lorain firefighter is covered in ice as he helps battle a blaze on Iowa Avenue late Tuesday.

The fire, at the International Party Manufacturing building, 1739 Iowa Ave., was called in about 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to Assistant Fire Chief Gary Burls. Around 10:15 p.m., the roof of the building, located off Colorado Avenue, collapsed.

Burls said about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday that the building appeared to be empty and firefighters had adopted a defensive posture before the collapse and none were injured.

“We need to remind everybody to stay out of the collapse zones,” Burls said in an 11:55 p.m. radio transmission.

Burls said firefighters were working to keep the fire, which began in an office building, from spreading to an adjacent warehouse and the nearby Vine of Hope Community Center.

The Rev. Kelly Melendez, who runs the church and center, stood outside as firefighters, including Elyria firefighters in a ladder truck, battled the blaze.

Melendez said the church and center serves some 11,000 families annually and worried that the fire might spread.

“This could affect us big time,” he said. “We serve all these families.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.