Hamilton firefighters battled a blaze early Tuesday morning that erupted in the Rent-A-Center on Dixie Highway in the Hamilton Plaza. Flames were shooting out of the store front when first responders arrived, but they were able to contain the fire before it spread. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
Photo: Greg Lynch
Photo: Greg Lynch

Hamilton firefighters battle blaze that does $500K damage in plaza

The blaze did an estimated $500,000 damage to that business and two neighboring stores.

Flames were shooting out of the storefront when first responders arrived, but they were able to contain the fire before it spread.

Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Dawson said that the fire started shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, and when firefighters arrived, they witnessed huge flames at the Rent-A-Center store.

“The first units on arrival saw heavy flames coming out of storefront windows of the Rent-A-Center,” he explained.

The fire department has been undergoing extensive training to combat these fires and used that knowledge to attack what they encountered Tuesday morning.

“It was fought as a defensive fire and it was attacked from the outside,” Dawson said.

When the fire was brought under control, the extent of the damage was evaluated, according to the fire chief.

“There was extensive damage in the Hamilton Plaza on Dixie Highway. The Rent-A-Center store was completely gutted, and there was heavy smoke damage to the Family Dollar next to it,” Dawson said. “On each side there was some residual smoke damage to businesses.”

The structural damage and contents that were destroyed will add up to more than a half-million dollars in damage, Dawson said. The health department will also have to get involved he added.

“The Health Department will have to investigate the items in the Family Dollar because that is under their purview,” Dawson said. “And we are probably looking at with structural and content damage at over a half-million dollar loss.”

Fairfield Twp. provided mutual aid and Butler County brought in its Air and Light Unit to assist in battling the fire.

“We also asked the State Fire Marshall’s Office to help us out with this investigation since it is a pretty significant fire,” Dawson said. “They will be working with our investigators to determine and find a cause to this fire.”

He added that there were no injuries reported to people in the plaza or to any firefighter who was on the scene.

“We aren’t saying arson at this time but are going to thoroughly investigate what caused this fire,” Dawson said.

Hamilton Fire Dept. investigator Trevor Snider was on the scene late Tuesday afternoon, and he said the fire damage was contained to Rent-A-Center and that Chatti Salon and Family Dollar seemed to have heavy smoke damage. Snider said investigators hope to obtain security camera footage that may help determine the cause.

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