Firefighters battle structure fire in downtown Kent
KENT, Ohio (WOIO) - Firefighters remain on the scene of a fire at the old Williams Brothers Flour Mill located on North Water Street that started Friday morning.
Crews responded to North Water Street where residents saw billows of smoke coming from the area.
19 News viewers quickly sent in videos and pictures of the fire, including GRAZERS Restaurant owners, who caught the explosion on camera.
Kent State put out an advisory at 9:36 a.m. asking students to avoid the area.
They stated that there was no threat to the Kent Campus at this time.
A representative from Kent fire told 19 News they were losing 5000 gallons per minute, depleting the city’s water supply.
Because of this, they asked residents to conserve their water use at the time.
Several departments responded to the scene, including Kent, Streetsboro, Randolph, Vienna, Stow, Hartville and Brimfield.
Kent fire reported the building to be vacant at the time of the fire.
Several restaurants in the area were seen providing firefighters with food and beverages during the incident, including Scribbles Coffee. Scott Budzar’s wife owns it and he works there.
“That’s when I got down here just to see all of North Water Street completely closed off and the building just entirely engulfed in smoke and flames,” Budzar recalled.
Many people were sad to see the iconic flour mill burn down.
“It’s literally a part of our home that burnt down today, it means a lot to everybody in this city,” Budzar said.
“I’m just I’m very sad and really devastated to see such a piece of Kent history go away,” said resident Greg Gfell. “I walked by it every day on my walk to school when I was a kid.”
Many in the community told 19 News they’re grateful for all the brave first responders.
“It just shows you what we’re really made of,” Budzar said. “I mean the hair’s raising on my arms right now under my winter coat. To see Tallmadge here, Stow, Ravenna, Streetsboro, Hudson, Hartville, Marlboro like just seeing all these trucks pull up and all these guys and women just coming in to aid our town. I mean it’s a miracle that they contained it to just this, the size of this structure is massive, and to see that they’ve been able to contain it to where the fire actually was and most of our buildings all around here from what I can tell are in pretty good shape.”
The Kent Area Chamber of Commerce announced early Friday afternoon they postponed its Festival of Lights, scheduled for the evening of Dec. 3, to Dec. 10 due to the fire.
This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.
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