JEROMESVILLE -- Though the appearance of downtown Jeromesville has been altered, the village remains resilient, Mayor Randy Spade said Monday.
Twenty four hours earlier, a massive fire tore through three prominent structures on West Main Street, leaving one man dead in a second floor apartment and severely damaging at least two buildings.
"The thing about Jeromesville is you can't knock us down. We'll get back up," Spade said. "I expect residents will rally around the local businesses, help clean up and do what we can. It'll become part of Jeromesville's story, but we'll come back from this."
He offered condolences to the family of the deceased man, who is yet to be identified by the coroner's office.
Firefighters found the man's body on the second floor on 10 W. Main St. when conditions allowed them to search the structure, according to a Sunday press release issued by Jeromesville Fire Department Assistant Chief John Cutlip.
The body of the deceased was transported to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office.
As of late Monday afternoon, the cause of the fire was still undetermined and under investigation, but there was no indication that it was intentionally set or that there was any criminal activity involved, public information officer at the Ohio Department of Commerce Brian Bohnert said in an email.
He continued to say investigators believe the fire started on the second level of the building adjacent to what village residents know as the Jeromesville Pub.
The J-Ville Pub has been a downtown staple for as long as Mayor Spade -- and his father Gail Spade -- can remember. Both recall the pub's existence throughout their entire lives in the village. Gail Spade remembers the pub being around when he moved to the area in the 1960's, but conversations with other area residents led Mayor Spade to believe the building housing the pub had been built in the late 1800's.
When the Jeromesville Fire Department arrived after 5 a.m. Sunday, the fire was contained to the one building, but it quickly spread to the adjacent pub and then to Remaley Auction House, too. The Pub sustained heavy damage, but the fire was stopped before "much damage to the auction house," the release said.
Gail Spade, who is the village maintenance man, stood outside the Jeromesville Market on Monday morning, looking across the street.
"Hopefully, their insurance will cover everything," he said. "But we're like a big family here. If someone needs help, we'll help them out."
He was called at 5:45 a.m. Sunday morning to turn on both water pumps at the village's treatment plant. The village ran more than 80,000 gallons of water just through the treatment plant that morning.
"I had four phone calls or so, saying, 'There's something wrong with the water pressure,' and I told them, 'Well, there's a three-alarm fire down here,'" Gail Spade said.
Mayor Spade urged residents to limit water usage during the fire.
"Please use as little water as possible until further notice. All of our resources are currently being diverted to the fire," he said in a Facebook post.
Jeromesville Fire Department requested assistance from Ashland City Fire, Hayesville Fire, New Pittsburg Fire, Wooster Township Fire, Wooster City Fire, Town and Country Fire and Rescue, Perrysville Fire Dept. Polk Fire Dept, Mifflin Township, Ashland, Mifflin Township, Richland County, and the Ashland County Sheriff's Department.
"They all worked together as a team. The last trucks left at 4 in the afternoon. It started at 5 or so in the morning," Spade said. "It was a long day."
The Jeromesville Market, located directly across the street, donated food and drinks to the firefighters.
"Everybody is always there for everybody. Everybody will step up and help with what needs done," manager Emily Farrao said. "It was the least we could do. "
She was in and out of the store Sunday. It was "devastating" to watch, she continued.
Mayor Spade noted the pub had made adjustments to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and had installed a front patio to improve the space.
"We're still trying to figure out what needs done, who needs help, but we want to be available to anyone who needs help," Spade said.
He asked anyone in need to contact himself or a member of village council.
"We are here to help however we can. That area of town means a lot to many of us. We'll come together to support each other," he said.