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Published: Monday, 7/28/2008

Bar in West Toledo damaged by blaze

BY MATTHEW EISEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A firefighter looks inside the bar where fire caused extensive damage. The bar was not open last night. A firefighter looks inside the bar where fire caused extensive damage. The bar was not open last night.
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Fire last night produced thick black smoke and caused extensive damage to the Sports Zone bar in West Toledo.

The blaze, reported about 10:15 p.m., started at the rear of the first floor and spread up the wall to the second-floor of the two-story structure at 1020 West Sylvania Ave., just west of where Sylvania intersects with Lewis and Phillips avenues, Battalion Fire Chief Tony Gregory said.

The bar was not open last night.

An aerial ladder truck poured water onto the roof, which is topped by a large billboard, as firefighters entered the building and extinguished what they described as extensive flames.

Brian Billings said he was leaving the nearby Rite Aid Pharmacy, 1012 West Sylvania, when he saw smoke so thick that he couldn t see Sylvania, about 10 yards away.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 30 minutes. An arson investigator was called to the scene.

According to an Internet listing by Signature Associates, a realty firm, which was updated Tuesday, the structure houses a fully equipped bar on the first floor.

The second floor is vacant.

The bar is for sale with a listing price of $69,000.

Last night s fire was the second one this month at a bar that was closed.

On July 15, fire caused an estimated $500,000 to Bootleggers, a country-western night club at 2518 Reynolds Rd. in South Toledo.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the Bootleggers blaze was arson because a rear door appeared to have been pried open and the fire was believed to have started in that area before it spread to the roof.

Authorities estimated structural damage to the single-story Bootleggers building at $350,000 and said the blaze destroyed about $150,000 worth of items inside.

A sign outside said the club was closed for the summer and would reopen in the fall.

Investigators are seeking information about that fire through the Crime Stopper program.



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