A blaze of suspicious origin destroyed a former East Toledo nightclub and caused anxious moments for patrons of an adjacent bar and residents in apartments above the latter.
Battalion Fire Chief Tim Clapp said an alarm was turned in at 8:47 p.m. and that when he and first crews arrived at the former Tony & Vickie's Cabaret, at 500 Front St., flames were shooting out of the second story and attic of the structure at Front Street and Euclid Avenue. The property was vacant, and there was no electrical or natural gas service to the building.
PHOTO GALLERY: Firefighters battle blaze at former nightclub in East Toledo
Within minutes of his arrival, Chief Clapp said he asked for extra equipment, as he directed his forces to fight the fire from outside and to protect the adjacent Jordan's Bar directly behind the fire-engulfed structure. Twice he ordered patrons to evacuate Jordan's as well as 10 to 15 residents of apartments over the bar. Firemen kept monitoring a wall of Jordan's exposed to the fire to ensure it was not being compromised by the intense heat of the heat.
Flames could be seen shooting through the roof as crews fought the blaze from four different directions. Front Street, between Main and Oak streets, was closed to traffic. Onlookers said they were drawn from miles away by the flames that filled the night sky, Chief Clapp said, adding that one witness crossing the High Level Bridge described the burning building as a spectacular site.
The chief said at one point during the fire's worst moments a nearby utility pole caught fire, and he watched anxiously as his forces fought the flames, because the pole was part of a distribution system carrying some large power lines. There were as many as 10 pieces of fire equipment at the scene, one shy of a second alarm, Chief Clapp said.
Chief Clapp, who estimated damage at $88,500 to the structure and $10,000 to its contents, was returned to his regular duties at 10:15 p.m. as Fire Chief Luis Santiago took command of the scene. No injuries were reported. Because the fire left little standing city officials ordered bulldozers in to knock down what was left.