MECCA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The calls to Trumbull County 911 started coming in just before 8 a.m. Wednesday but already, the fire at Chrissy’s Lake Tavern in Mecca Township was burning out of control.
Caller: “Flames are coming through the roof of the outside bar on the west side of the building.”
Dispatcher: “Do you see flames?”
Caller: “Yes, ma’am.”
Dispatcher: “OK. We’re getting multiple calls.”
Dispatcher: “Is there smoke or flames visible?”
Caller: “Yeah, right out the back. The whole back’s on fire.”
Neighbor Brandon Moore sent us the following photos after calling 911.
With no hydrants in the area, firefighters tried getting water from nearby Mosquito Lake.
“We have some dry hydrants up on the lake that are our closest water supply — both of those were frozen,” said Cortland Fire Chief David Rea.
That’s when the call went out for mutual aid and tankers, and nearly a dozen nearby departments raced to the scene on Route 46.
The chief said the biggest problem fighting the fire was getting water to the scene. Nearby Mosquito Lake was completely frozen over, forcing crews to drive all the way down Route 46 to Cortland — about three miles away — where they could fill up at hydrants and then go back to the scene.
As the owner and her staff gathered, most of them in tears, windy conditions fanned the flames.
Although we’re told the bar had gone through extensive renovations, about $250,000 worth, parts of the tavern date back to the 1830s, when it was first built.
“The building is of older nature. It’s heavy timber, some of it, and once those start going, they’re very hard to put out. So we couldn’t put anyone inside with not having water,” Rea said.
Although the owner was too upset to talk with us on camera, we’re told the tavern was very popular, especially with those who used Mosquito Lake.
“Oh, the atmosphere and, you know, just that good food and really good people that work there, you know, really good people. You know, it’s just sad. It’s been there a long time… how terrible. I hope they figure out what happened,” said Brian Knight, of Green Township. “Gorgeous in there, you know, and the food and people and everything. You know, it’s just terrible. Just terrible.”
“This was a destination bar, you know? People came here from far away, you know, in the summer, bikers and that, they’d have a few beers and play bands. They got a beautiful stage out back, huge one. It’s one of the best stages around, really. So that’s sad. It’s just so sad. It’s gone. I don’t know what I’ll do,” said Johnny Ringo, of Cortland.
The building sits in ruins — its roof mostly collapsed. Firefighters say that the tavern rekindled Thursday morning.
No one was hurt.
The state fire marshal is now helping with the investigation, leaving the cause undetermined for now.