The black smoke roiling above Belmont Avenue was a startling sight, but the large fire that caused it Tuesday afternoon was good news instead of bad.
The township fire department was training eight of its firefighters in a controlled burn of the last building standing at the Liberty Square Apartments — an abandoned nuisance property on Naylor-Lloyd Road that finally will be cleared out and cleaned up.
It wasn’t the first fire there — arsons destroyed the other three buildings in the past three years, the latest on July 5.
The complex had been abandoned since 2006, say Vindicator files.
The township obtained a Moving Ohio Forward grant for $84,240 to remove asbestos, and it got permission from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to do the burn.
Trustee Jason Rubin said the Trumbull County Land Reutilization Cooperation distributed the grant.
“We worked hard and got the grant,” he said, adding that the township applied for it two to three months ago and learned two to three weeks ago it would receive it.
Foust Construction removed the asbestos and is to clean up the property.
“A lot of people in the neighborhood called and complained about it,” said Rubin.
“It makes the township happy and me happy to eliminate blight,” he said.
Fire Capt. Ron Stauffer said the property will not only look better, it will be safer.
“It eliminates hazards and people walking in,” Stauffer said.