ELYRIA, OH – On February 24, 2021 at 7:54 p.m. the Elyria Fire Department responded to a fire at 100 Washington Avenue, commonly known as the Washington Towers, Uncle Vic’s and/or Mardi Gras Building. The first units arrived on scene within 3 minutes of dispatch and found a 3-floor fire in the portion of the structure nearest Merchants Alley and Kerstetter Way. No injuries have been reported. Mutual aid was provided by nearly all fire departments in Lorain County; additional City departments and County response teams provided aid as detailed below.
The fire was declared under control at roughly 3:00 a.m.; demolition of the building began at roughly 4:00 a.m., and will take up to 5 days to complete. Area cleanup estimated between 2-3 weeks.
The Elyria Police Department started an investigation on scene for possible arson. As reported on Thursday, February 25, two (2) juvenile subjects were arrested in regards to the investigation. Juvenile #1, 17, of Elyria was certified through the Lorain County Juvenile Court for Aggravated Arson, ORC. 2909.02, F-1, Breaking and Entering, ORC 2911.13, F-5, and Failure to Report a Crime, ORC 2921.22, M-4. Juvenile #2, 17, of Elyria was certified through the Lorain County Juvenile Court for Breaking and Entering, ORC 2911.13, F-5. Both individuals were transported to the Lorain County Detention Home pending a hearing with Juvenile Court.
Details about city and mutual response is outlined below:
City Department Response:
- Elyria Police & Auxiliary – safety response and drone operation to identify the location of fires within the building
- Water Distribution – shuttle and hydrant support; setup lights for increased visibility
- Streets – barricaded downtown; salted roadways as safety precaution
- Communications – established generators at EPD due to outages
- Wastewater Pollution Control – prevented contaminated water from entering our systems
- Water Pumping – ensured steady flow of water into the towers
- All County Fire Departments – responded for mutual aid
- Lorain County Office of Emergency Management – established a command center downtown for response
- Ohio Edison – electrical support
- Norfolk Southern Railroad – reduced train speeds to 30 mph to ensure safety during fire and demolition
- Marco’s Pizza (South Abbe Rd.) – donated pizzas and pop for first responders
- McDonald’s (Downtown) – supplied 100 hamburgers and coffee for first responders
Additional information about the fire and investigation will be released as available.