By Elise Franco
Whoever set fire to a township bar Wednesday came back to finish the job early Friday, Fire Chief Andy Frost Jr. said.
For the second time in less than a week, fire was set to Rumors Lounge, 104 N. Meridian Road. Though the first fire caused about $45,000 in damage to the vacant second-floor apartment, Friday’s fire left the bar a total loss, Frost said.
Fire crews arrived at Rumors at about 4:15 a.m. Friday, but Frost said it’s likely the fire was burning for a while before anyone noticed and called it in.
“We knocked the fire down in probably 25 minutes, but we had some troubles because the roof caved in early on,” he said. “It had probably been burning for some time.” Frost said in both cases, someone broke into the building and spread flammable liquid around the apartment before setting it on fire.
“We definitely feel this was a set fire,” he said. “Someone probably kicked the door in.”
The chief said the bar’s owner was at the site early Friday morning and was “beside himself.”
The Mahoning County Auditor’s Office lists Saadeh Bros. LLC, of Brookfield, as the property owner.
Attempts to reach the bar’s owner and manager were unsuccessful Friday afternoon.
The total market value on the property, which is in good financial standing, is $61,300 according to the auditor’s office.
Frost said Austintown police, the state fire marshal’s office and the Criminal Bureau of Identification and Investigation are assisting with the investigation.