MECCA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – A final report was issued by the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office, closing the investigation into what may have caused a devastating fire at a Mecca Township business.
It was concluded that the fire that destroyed the Lake Tavern on February 16 is undetermined, but there are some things that cannot be ruled out such as smoking materials, electrical issues or that the fire was intentionally set, according to the investigation report.
Investigator Todd Stitt wrote “smoking materials cannot be eliminated as the cause of this incident. There is electric wiring to the patio ceiling area. The electric wiring cannot be eliminated as the cause of this fire. An intentional human act cannot be eliminated.”
Stitt determined that the fire started on the exterior center area on the west side of the tavern. It quickly traveled into the roof system and exterior walls causing them to collapse and be consumed by fire.
The building was reduced to rubble.
Several witnesses, employees, and the owner, Chrissy Long, were interviewed in the investigation and no one noted any issues with space heaters in the building or any electrical issues. There was also nothing remarkable that happened prior to the business closing the night before the fire, according to witness statements.
The case has been closed and the cause is undetermined. The case will not be reopened unless additional information becomes available.