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Blaze battled at former Ansell Edmont site

| June 28, 2019

COSHOCTON – A Thursday night fire at the former Ansell Edmont site kept firefighters busy throughout the night and well into Friday afternoon.

The fire was reported around 8:17 p.m. Thursday, June 27. Coshocton Fire Department received the first alarm and the second brought in Jackson Township, Three Rivers and West Lafayette fire departments.

“It was chugging through the roof already when we got there,” said Coshocton’s Chief Mike Layton. “I was told you could see the smoke from Newcomerstown. We were concerned the fire could spread to different areas of the building, but we were able to keep it contained to this center section (that faces South 14th Street). We are thankful we were able to do that.”

When Layton arrived on scene he was told that Newcomerstown Fire Department was called to bring its ladder truck. He added Dresden and New Concord’s departments to the list of ones to ask for mutual aid.

“I’m glad I did because Newcomerstown had a mechanical issue and New Concord ended up having to return,” Layton said. “We had our ladder and Dresden’s, but when the wall collapsed we didn’t have to worry about hitting it from an elevated position. We called for a ladder from Zanesville too, but we ended up not needing it.”

There were between 60 and 65 firefighters involved in the situation.

“Everyone worked well together,” Layton said. “I commanded. They followed my instructions and we got some input from senior officers from other departments. We always work well together whether it’s the city going out to help in the county or them coming to help us.”

Firefighters stayed on the scene throughout the night because when the wall of the building collapsed the roof went with it and caused issues.

“The roofing material was doing what it was supposed to by keeping water out,” Layton said. “Material was burning underneath of it and we had to separate it.”

The owner of the building, Eric Baker, was contacted Friday morning and he brought his own equipment down to help move material around for firefighters to water down.

“There might be a little left smoldering, but the bulk of it is out,” Layton said on Friday.

The cause of the fire is not known at this time, but Layton is almost certain it was started by someone whether by accident or on purpose.

“There is nothing left for an investigator to look at,” he said. “With the people that live around here and the traffic from the hospital if this was a small accident, someone would have noticed it. With the flames that came from this, someone did it with the help of something. It was an empty building with no utilities and to the best of our knowledge it was secure.”

One firefighter who helped battle the blaze was overcome by heat. He was treated on the scene by EMS, who suggested he go to the ER.

“He was treated there and then discharged,” Layton said. “He is back to work and is fine.”

In addition to Coshocton County EMS, the sheriff’s office was on scene along with city officials, Rob McMasters from Coshocton County Emergency Management, the Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

“We were at the scene from 8:30 p.m. until approximately midnight with water for first responders and we also passed out the 20 pizzas that were provided by Domino’s for the first responders,” said Doug Caton, Red Cross Coshocton County Disaster Supervisor. “The local United Way provides money for local fire needs as well as the Red Cross.”

Layton was very appreciative of both agencies.

“The Red Cross did a nice job and Tom Dile (from The Salvation Army) left us his coolers,” Layton said. “Tom is there if it’s 100 degrees out or 10 below.”

He also appreciated the cooperation of the hospital’s maintenance staff. They were called to shut down the hospital’s ventilation system to prevent smoke from getting in.

Layton advised that the area will smell smoky for a while and that people with respiratory problems might want to stay away.

“If you don’t need to be over here, stay away,” he said. “If you want pictures I am sure they are all over Facebook.”


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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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