Fire Destroys 152-Year-Old Historic Waverly Restaurant - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

Fire Destroys 152-Year-Old Historic Waverly Restaurant

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WAVERLY, Ohio -

A historic building in downtown Waverly was destroyed by a fire Monday night.

Firefighters from the Waverly Fire Department responded to the Emmitt House located at 123 North Market St. shortly before 8:30 p.m. on a report of a fire.

Responding firefighters reported seeing flames shooting through the roof of the three-story, 152-year-old building. The fire initially began on the first floor of the building but quickly spread to the second floor and through the roof by the time crews arrived.

SLIDESHOW: Fire Destroys Historic Waverly Restaurant

Crews battled the blaze for more than an hour, according to fire officials. By 9 p.m., the fire began to spread to neighboring buildings.

North Market Street was closed in the area while crews worked to contain the blaze.

High winds and freezing fire hoses complicated the effort. A total of 60 firefighters battled the blaze for eight hours, according to Waverly fire Chief Randy Armbuster.

Now the remaining structure, the owner's car parked in front of the building, and Market Street are encased in ice.

According to the Emmitt House's web site, the business was built as a hotel in 1861 by prominent entrepreneur James Emmitt.

Waverly resident, Joshua Egnor, said he was there Monday night when the fire started.

"As soon as I come around the corner there was people standing there right outside the bar, next thing I know everybody started running," said Egnor.

Egnor said he saw flames that were 10 feet tall coming from the top of the building. The fire began to spread quickly to a nearby building where there were apartments.

"There was a girl trying to get back in and we actually ended up getting her back when the front of the building exploded outwards," said Egnor.

News of the fire was the topic of conversation at Diner 23. Michael Connors said the Emmitt House was helping the town's economic growth.

"It was starting to take that whole street corner and expand it. And that looked like very positive economical movement in this area, which it needed," Connors said.

Throughout the morning, folks stopped by to take pictures of a place that they said they will truly miss.

"It made you feel like you were taking a step back into history which was very unique. You don't get that experience in a lot of places," said Connor.

The building is considered unsafe, according to fire officials. A portion of U.S. 23 that abuts to the front of the building is closed until officials determine whether or not the building needs to be torn down.

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