At approximately noon on Wednesday, dispatchers called Defiance firefighters to a structure fire at 15399 Ohio 66 South that resulted in major property damage and a long battle to extinguish the blaze.
Arriving on the scene, firefighters were meet by eyewitnesses who reported that a loud explosion had been heard followed by billowing smoke, both of which prompted the initial call to 911. It was observed at that time that the entire metal structure was fully engulfed in flames.
Defiance City and Highland Township fire departments were the first called and to respond to the blaze that quickly developed into a defensive fire that needed increased mutual aid.
When it appeared to be a more difficult fire to extinguish than expected, Defiance Fire Department called for additional firefighters. Throughout the fight with the fire, departments were called from Tiffin, Noble, South Richland, Delaware and Tiffin townships as well as Continental and Jewell. In all, the firefighters worked for nearly three hours to get the fire under control.
The property is owned by Scott McKibben, who collects firefighter memorabilia and antique fire trucks as well as some other vehicles that had been housed in the structure.
When Capt. Steve Johnson of the Defiance Fire Department was contacted Wednesday evening, he reported that the fight was indeed defensive from the beginning and that it appeared the structure was a complete loss.
Johnson also said that the state fire marshal had been called and there is a pending investigation into the cause of the fire.