The Independent story
Dec 05, 2009
Firefighters battled two major fires at apartment buildings only blocks apart in downtown Massillon Saturday night. The first fire broke out at the Library Apartments, 120 Fourth St. N.E. Crews were dispatched to the scene around 8:20 p.m. About a half hour later, firefighters were on the scene of a second fire – at 42 Charles Ave. S.E., which houses a business on the first floor, “Lasting Memories,” and apartments on the second floor. Both buildings are owned by Paul Doering. Massillon Safety-Services Director Mike Loudiana said both buildings likely are total losses. The fires were under control late Saturday night but would smolder all night, Loudiana said.
Massillon firefighters were assisted by crews from several neighboring departments, including Perry Township, Jackson Township and North Lawrence. Three people were rescued from the Library Apartments fire, Loudiana said. “One person was taken out through a second-story window, another was on the roof of a porch in the back,” he said. “A third person had smoke inhalation (and was transported to the hospital).” The state fire marshal will investigate the cause of both fires.
Loudiana said there were multiple fires at the Library Apartments – “one that started on the first floor and one on the second floor that we can ascertain.” The Charles Avenue fire was fueled by a gas leak in the basement. “Nobody at this point knows why (the fires) started,” Loudiana said. A crowd had gathered at the scene of the Charles Avenue blaze, across from the Massillon Municipal Government Building, and crews had to force them back until the fire was under control. Loudiana credited crews for containing the flames to the Charles Avenue apartment building. “That whole block there is connected, plus there’s a very narrow alley. (Firefighters) did a great job of keeping those flames from leaping across that alley to the other buildings,” he said. “The Fourth Street fire, though it’s probably a total loss, also could have been a lot worse. They got it contained and got those people out.” A couple of firefighters had “a bit of smoke inhalation and probably some heat exhaustion,” Loudiana said, but none were transported from the scene. Frigid temperatures played a factor, too. “It was a cold night, everything freezing, and we had to call the street department to salt roads. A couple of firemen fell on the ice,” he said.
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UPDATE - Monday, Dec. 7, 2007: "Reward Offered For Information About Massillon Apartment Fires:"
The owner of both apartment buildings, Paul K. Doering was on scene with fire officials late Saturday night. Doering owns more than twenty commercial and residential properties in the area according to the Stark County Auditor's website.