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Fire in Richfield destroys building, equipment

8/28/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

The Richfield Township Service Department building, located at 3038 Boston Mills Road, and most of its contents were destroyed Aug. 19 during an early morning fire of unknown origin.
Photos: Ken Crisafi
RICHFIELD — The Richfield Township Service Department building, located at 3038 Boston Mills Road, and most of its contents were destroyed Aug. 19 during an early morning fire of unknown origin.

According to Trustee Janet Jankura, the Richfield Fire Department got the call around 5 a.m., and the department, with help from several fire departments from surrounding communities, was able to extinguish the blaze by midmorning. She added the site has been secured and police are monitoring it.

Jankura said there were no fatalities or serious injuries due to the fire, and the state fire marshal is conducting an investigation that may take several weeks to complete.

According to Jankura, damage from the fire was limited to the building and its contents, and the surrounding area was not affected. The contents of the steel pole building included dump trucks, snowplows, mowing and other lawn maintenance equipment, road repair equipment, tools and office furniture and computers. [See related Richfield Township meeting report story on Page 6.]

“Everything is gone,” she said. “The value of contents is estimated to be $506,000, and the building is valued at $184,000, according to the Summit County property tax records.”

The loss is affecting the township’s ability to provide service to the community, but Jankura said other communities have offered their help.

“We have activated our comprehensive emergency plan and all other township facilities are in full operation and remain unaffected,” said Jankura. “A lot of communities have stepped forward to help. We just signed an agreement to use some Richfield Village equipment and office space, and Summit County has stepped forward to help, too. We are grateful for everyone’s help during this emergency.”

Jankura said township officials are striving to provide “seamless service,” but she added, “there will a bit of time where service to residents will be affected.”

Jankura said township officials are working to find more permanent workspace and to replace tools and other necessary equipment.

“We are working with our insurance and third-party vendors to obtain the equipment necessary for our Service Department personnel to return to their jobs,” she said.

Jankura said township officials have canceled some ancillary work, including a tire collection event in September and brush chipping in October.

Jankura said discussion on how to replace the building began at the Aug. 21 Board of Trustees meeting, and township officials are continuing to explore the matter.

“We want to do it sooner rather than later,” she said. “This fire opens up the parcel and presents a new beginning on what to do with plans for a new administration office on the site, which has the room for it. More discussion is needed on this, and we will need to review all our options.”

Residents trying to reach the Service Department should use the administrative office number at 330-659-4700 until further notice, according to township officials.

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