Video: Historic Ohio Factory Destroyed by Flames

Live power lines were brought down by the blaze, causing even more problems for crews.


NORWOOD, Ohio --

The investigation into a fire that destroyed a vacant factory in Norwood will take some time, possibly weeks.

Crews spent Tuesday working to put out the last of the smoldering bits of wreckage from the abandoned Norco building that caught fire Monday night.

Bringing the fire under control was challenging for fire crews. They could not enter the building because the fire was too intense, with flames shooting as high as 50 feet in the air.

With help called in from Cincinnati and St. Bernard, getting enough water to supply all the crews was difficult as well. The water that they poured on the building turned to ice on the streets.

In addition, live power lines were brought down by the fire, causing even more problems, a situation that Norwood Fire Captain Ron Wallace called, "all the worst conditions coming together."

On Tuesday, people stopped by to look at the still-smoking rubble from the fire and recall the factory that helped produce products that went into countless homes. The building was owned by Sears & Roebuck in the early 1900s and created prefabricated kit houses that were shipped all over the country.

The company became known as Norwood Sash and Door and eventually was renamed Norco, but it continued to sell building materials and prefabricated components for construction.

WLWT's Andrew Setters spoke to one woman whose husband retired from the company after working there 42 years.

Shirley Smith said her husband is in frail health and was very emotional about learning of the destruction of the building where he made his living. She stopped by Monday night to videotape the burning building, but became overwhelmed.

"When I looked at it last night, I couldn't hardly film for crying. I became so emotional," Smith said.

The Ohio Office of Development's website showed that the City of Norwood received a $730,600 grant from the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund to remove asbestos and demolish the building. There were plans to construct two 20,000-square-foot office buildings at the site.

Even so, Smith still said losing the building to fire is sad.

"It wouldn't have been as hard, knowing that they tore it down to start up a new business, as it is to see it now," Smith said. "It's very sad; very, very sad."

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