NEWARK — A fire on Easter Sunday morning at Newark Station, the former White-Westingthouse factory on West Main Street, engulfed a building but did not damage areas slated for redevelopment.
Firefighters responded to the blaze around 4 a.m. in the large brick building near the road and Raccoon Creek, but did not enter the structure for fear of collapse. The vacant building was already slated for demolition.
Newark Fire Captain Mike Bolte said West Main Street will remain closed due to danger of collapse and firefighters will remain on the scene indefinitely. Black smoke could still be seen rising from the structure at 11 a.m.
The burning building is connected to the main Newark station facility by an elevated walkway, but the fire did not reach the second structure.
“The crew made a really good save and kept him off the bridge,” Bolte said. “The bulk of the damage is in the center of the building, but there is damage everywhere.”
Bolte said it’s unclear how the fire started or its exact origin. He didn’t know who reported the fire or how long it had been burning. There are no casualties. The department continues to investigate the cause.
“West Main will remain closed until the risk of collapse subsides,” Bolte said. “We’re worried about the building. We’ve pulled everyone out.”
Firefighters also responded from Heath, Granville, Madison Township, West Licking, Plain Township and West Licking Fire Company.
Seth Stout, co-founder and COO of Newark Station, released a statement about the company on Sunday.
“The fire started around 4 a.m. in the original warehouse on the east side of the site along Main Street,” Stout said. “The Newark Fire Department handled the situation with an incredible response and we want to thank our firefighters for bringing this fire under control.
“Fortunately, this disaster has not affected any of the work we have carried out on the main building which will house the next two phases of development. The Newark Station team remains committed to redeveloping this 10-acre site into an asset sprawling community.”
The reopening of The Yard at Newark Station is still scheduled for May 12, Stout said. Phase 2 of the development includes a cafe, restaurant, concert hall and 18 apartments.
The massive $11 million mixed-use redevelopment project features four lighted sand volleyball courts, an outdoor taco bar and live music in the first phase of a four-phase redevelopment that opened in May 2021.
The former industrial site of White-Westinghouse, Pharis Tire and Rubber and Simpson Soap will become a 140,000 square foot development consisting of a cafe, lounge, 22 lofts, rooftop bar, a modern trading post with craftsmen and entrepreneurs, offices, an Italian restaurant and possibly a city park along Raccoon Creek.
The other end of the development, a vacant lot at the corner of West Main and South 11th streets, will house a three-story apartment complex called The Landing at Newark Station.
Construction on the 108-unit multi-family complex adjacent to Newark Station is expected to begin this summer.