The fast actions of the Barnesville Fire Department saved an historic building in downtown Barnesville last week.
Barnesville Fire Chief Tim Hall said that, just before 3 a.m., the department received a smoke alarm sounding at the historic Bradfield Building downtown that now houses Ohio Hills Health Services.
Responding to the site within three minutes were six firefighters, an engine and the emergency medical squad, Hall said.
"We entered the building and smoke was visible on the first floor," Hall said.
Firefighters descended to the basement and discovered a crack in the boiler from which smoke and flames were emerging.
They were able to shut off gas and electricity and extinguish the problem.
"We were able to take care of it pretty quickly," Hall said. "So, we didn't have to call [any other departments] to come in to assist.
"If not for the smoke alarm, the fire could have catastrophic," he added.
As it was, firefighters were able to vent the building of smoke and Ohio Hills Health Services, which is one of the largest employers in the village, was able to open for business at the normal hour.
Luckily, no one was in the building at the time of the fire. The fire was contained, the remaining smoke and fumes were vented from the building and the Barnesville Family Health Center was able to open its doors, as scheduled, at 8 a.m. on Thursday. The facility remains fully operational.
Jeff Britton, the CEO of Ohio Hills Heath Services, gave a heartfelt "Thank You" to the Barnesville Fire Department for their quick action. He said, firefighters "undoubtedly saved the Barnesville Family Health Center and the historic Bradfield Building."
The Bradfield Building, which started being built in 1888, was first the home of a bank and a general merchandise building. The building's architecture proposed a Richardsonian Romanesque style, popular at the time and easily identified by the large stone arches over windows and doors.
The building is listed as an historic landmark with the Ohio Historical Society.
Ohio Hills Health Services purchased the building in October 2006. Being ever so mindful of maintaining the historic integrity of the building, alterations and renovations were done thoughtfully and very carefully. On June 4, 2007, Ohio Hills Health Services relocated its Barnesville Family Health Center and Administration Office, and thus, became the latest business to occupy the former G.C. Murphy Building and historic Bradfield Building.