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People in Birmingham during fire as friendly as can be

Jason Werling • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

I have covered my share of fires while working here at the Register. Some have been homes, some have been cars and boats, and even an occasional scoreboard fire. (See small photo to the right)

Tuesday I was called to cover a fire in Birmingham, Ohio. "Where is Birmingham?" has been the most-asked question for me in the past day. Alright, second most-asked question; "But why?" from my son Will comes in as the top most-asked question every day.

Birmingham is about halfway between Vermilion and Wakeman at the Ohio 113/Ohio 60 intersection. The fire was at the town's post office and main-street pizza place Boccardi's. It was the largest fire I have covered in recent years as I wasn't actually there for the flames in the Hermes Dairy fire a couple years ago.

As word spread, several media organizations descended on the small town including newspaper reporters, photographers and several Cleveland television stations. And one thing that stuck out to me from that day is that everyone I talked to was very friendly and willing to talk about their experience of what happened just an hour prior. I talked to Mary Lou Frazier who was inside the post office when she saw smoke and I talked to Kim Summers who was making pizzas in Boccardi's when the fire broke out.

Even the owners of the building were willing to talk about how they had just gotten to the point where the building was fixed up and now it was gone.

I realize that homeowners will be reluctant to talk as firefighters are trying to put out a fire in their home, I don't think I would want to talk either. But in the case of this fire at a business so prominent in the downtown it was refreshing to have people tell us what happened in a fire that probably couldn't have been any bigger. But at least no one was hurt.

UPDATE: Dover photo ban lifted.

I blogged recently about a ban on the photographing the caskets of fallen soldiers as they arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. I am a little late with this update, but the ban has been lifted as long as family members of the fallen troops are alright with photos being taken. Story is here.

Register photo/JASON WERLING Mary Lou Frazier of Birmingham is interviewed by a Cleveland news station across the street from the fire at a building that housed the Birmingham Post Office and Boccardi's restaurant. Frazier was inside getting her mail and noticed smoke coming from the building.

Register photo/JASON WERLING Kim Summers was inside working at Boccardi's restaurant Tuesday afternoon when the fire started somewhere in the building that also houses the Birmingham Post Office.

Register file photo/JASON WERLING An unidentified man uses a hose to try to quell a dumpster fire containing pieces of the old Strobel Field scoreboard in 2007 near the high school football field. A fire started in the dumpster while workers tried to dismantle the old scoreboard with an acetylene torch.

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