Numerous area fire departments responded to battle a large blaze in a Defiance warehouse early Tuesday morning.

Defiance Fire Department was called at 1:47 a.m. to 902 Jackson Ave. at the corner of Davidson Street. Crews arrived to find heavy flames from the structure, which caused the roof to give way.

Providing mutual aid throughout the early morning hours were Bryan, Noble Township, Highland Township, Napoleon, Auglaize Township, Sherwood, South Richland, Grover Hill, Crane Township/Cecil, Antwerp, Continental, Oakwood and Payne fire crews. Also assisting at the scene were the Defiance Police Department, city street department and the Defiance County EMA office.

Residents of homes along Jackson Avenue were reportedly evacuated by the police due to heavy smoke in the area. They were assisted by the American Red Cross. Embers also landed on those adjacent properties as well.

No injuries were reported by Defiance Fire Chief Bill Wilkins, with the exception of the occasional "slip and fall." Temperatures were in the 20s overnight.

The Ohio Fire Marshal's Office was called to the scene, noted Wilkins. He added that the "building is not safe yet" to enter.

The fire remains under investigation and the chief called the building a "total loss."

The warehouse is owned by Howerton Enterprises LLC, Defiance, according to the Defiance County auditor's website. Wilkins relayed that the warehouse was in use and contained automobile parts.

A portion of the building was being demolished Tuesday afternoon, said Wilkins, who added that crews are working to reopen the streets in the immediate area that were closed while firefighters fought the blaze.

The 120-year-old brick structure was formerly occupied by Three Rivers Dairy Inc.

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