Youngstown fire crews battle fire at Mahoning Ave. Dollar Tree

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A customer told investigators there was a fire even before the alarm went off, and they were able to get out safely

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Fire crews had to call in an excavator Thursday to help battle a fire at a Dollar Tree store.

Crews were called to the building at 3003 Mahoning Ave. about 1:30 p.m. They encountered heavy smoke when they arrived from both the front and back of the building.

“The fire started in the back right corner where they keep most of their paper goods and storage,” said Battalion Chief Jim Drummond. “Still not sure how it started. The employees saw the fire before the fire alarm actually went off.”

Firefighters entered the building twice to get to the flames but had to pull everybody out. Drummond said they only made it 40 feet into the building before turning back.

“We probably needed to go 80 feet. It was just so dark in there. The way this building is built, it’s just basically a steel frame. It’s like an airplane hangar.” he said.

Two hours later, an excavator was used to tear down the wall in the western corner of the building to give firefighters better access to the fire.

“After that long fire in there, with the metal roof above us, we weren’t sure we could send guys in there and find it, first of all. So, the only way we could find it and get it really opened up was to tear the side off,” Drummond said.

Mahoning Avenue, between Bon Air and Rhoda avenues, was closed for about four hours.

The building that housed the Dollar Tree had a few windows and a door out front. There were a few smaller windows on the sides and back but none were conducive to ventilation during a fire.

“That’s one thing about these kinds of buildings, and it was sprinkless (sic) because it’s under the size that needs to be sprinkled. So yeah, all those building considerations.” Drummond said.

Smoke drifted through the entire store, which suffered heavy damage from the smoke.

All the employees in the store got out safely and didn’t want to comment about the incident.

Because of the unseasonably warm weather, crews were rotated so they can rest and plenty of water was also made available.

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