With two fires dispatched within five minutes of each other, cooperation between the Lancaster Fire Department and county departments kept damage to a minimum.
The first units to arrive at the YMCA fire were from the Pleasant Township and Greenfield Township fire departments, Schultz said.
“Our firefighters were already on their way to the Second Street fire, and when the call came through for the Y, mutual aid units took care of that one. It appears a commercial dryer caught fire at the Y, and luckily the sprinkler system helped contain the fire to the laundry room until mutual aid could arrive,” Schultz said. “Because the building’s rotunda is connected to the laundry room, there was smoke damage to the first and second floors, and some water damage due to the sprinkler system’s activation.”
He added there were no injuries reported, and the YMCA was closed Wednesday. Cole Reinschell, administrative director with the YMCA, said the building will likely be closed Thursday, and any updates will be posted on the organization’s Facebook page.
“First and foremost, I’m thankful that everyone is okay, the health and safety of our staff and patrons are our number one priority. The Sixth Avenue facility will be closed Thursday, but our River Valley campus will be open, and we will have childcare available,” Reinschell said.
He said the fire was caused by a dryer malfunction. Staff reported a burning smell and responded quickly, even using a fire extinguisher. Reinschell said he was proud of the staff for reacting quickly and evacuating clients from the building.
“I just want to say over the past year with COVID-19, we’ve overcome a lot of adversity. I wanted to thank all the firefighters that reported and helped us, and our members and staff for their work today,” he said.
He thanked the Tree Church for offering shelter to YMCA members and childcare program during the evacuation.
Reinschell added the YMCA would appreciate any charitable donations from the community. Checks should be made payable to the Robert K. Fox Family YMCA, address 465 W Sixth Ave, Lancaster, OH, 43130. Questions can be directed to Reinschell: contact him at 740-654-0616, extension 245.
Along with the Greenfield and Pleasant townships’ fire departments, firefighters from Hocking Township, Bloom Township and Amanda Township fire departments also responded. The fire was contained by about 9:30, Schultz said.
“We’re grateful for the assistance from everyone. Mutual aid is critical, and, today definitely proves that, every community should help one another. We were able to handle both fires with the assistance of every fire department that arrived,” Schultz said. “We appreciate that they could come to the city to help.”