GREENVILLE — Area fire, EMS and police units rushed to the scene of a fire that broke out in downtown Greenville around noon on Wednesday.
Firefighters battled flames and smoke at Gray House Comics and Games, 322 South Broadway Street. Vehicle traffic on Broadway and surrounding streets was closed as firefighters put out the fire and assessed damages.
Greenville Police Department Sergeant Douglas D. Flanery said the department received several 9-1-1 calls reporting the fire. On his arrival, he witnessed smoke and the fire department had already been dispatched.
“I talked to the building owner and he said there were no tenants upstairs, so it should be just the comic book store/game store,” Flanery said.
City of Greenville Safety/Service Director Curt Garrison said the City Fire Department had gone to a third alarm, calling additional area fire departments to the scene. Greenville Township Fire and Rescue, New Madison Fire, Liberty Township Fire, Union City Fire and Rescue, and Ansonia Fire were among the units which arrived on the scene to assist.
“We have various exposures, such as old buildings,” Garrison said. “We are trying to prevent the fire from spreading.”
The building is owned by Michael Kiser, who also owns Michael’s Fine Clocks & Jewelry, also on Broadway. Gray House Comics and Games is owned by Rodney Fisher. Both were on the scene following the fire being extinguished.
“There’s an apartment upstairs, but no one was living there. It’s unoccupied,” said Kiser, who has owned the building for more than 30 years. Fisher has operated the comic shop for eight years.
Both Kiser and Fisher wished to express their thanks to the firefighters and other first responders who arrived quickly to put out the blaze.
“It was a very timely response,” said Kiser.
Jeff Campbell, who works in the pressroom at neighboring Commercial Printing Company, said he detected smoke upon returning from his lunch break.
“I was out front having a cigarette when I started noticing a bit of smoke,” he said. “I saw the window turn black, and realized there was a problem. I went to get my sister but she was already on the phone [calling 9-1-1].”
Joan Brandt, Campbell’s sister and owner of Commercial Printing Company, said her employees were returning from lunch, approximately five minutes before noon.
“We were coming back from lunch and saw smoke coming out of the back, then we called 9-1-1,” she said. Brandt said she is unsure at this point if her business suffered significant smoke or heat damage.
The former Ted Grote Photography studio, next door to the comic shop, was in the process of being remodeled to house a Cricket Wireless store. The amount of smoke and heat damage to the building is undetermined.
There were no reported injuries. Damage to the structure and surrounding buildings is yet to be assessed. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.