3-Alarm fire in Over-the-Rhine

By Meghan Mongillo - email/bio

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A business that spanned 4 buildings in Over-the-Rhine is completely destroyed.   Smitty's on vine street caught fire early this morning.

At the cornor of vine and 15th in Over-the-Rhine. Seventeen fire departments and 65 firefighters weren't enough to save smitty's mens clothing store.

At 3:45 A-M heavy smoke and flames were pouring out of the back of the first floor.

"I told my wife something is on fire..going to call 911. When first 3 trucks arrived up in the air 30 to 40 foot a top of the roof.">

"A Cincinnati Police Officer out on routine patrol saw the fire and called it in.  It may have been smoldering for hours before crews even got here."

Twenty minutes into fighting the blaze it was so intense crews were forced to pull back. They continued a defensive approach spraying water from the street and on ladders.

There was a lot of clothing and wardrobe items in the building that kept fueling the flames.

"Just amount of fire load in a first floor of 3 buildings that were smitty's provided a lot of volume for firefighters."

Three buildings are a complete loss and the fourth had moderate damage in the attic.

One of them has an upstairs apartment that Stephanie and Todd lived in.

"It's hard to stand here and watch part of you life go up in flames. I have pictures of my mom pasted away last living picture in our apartment."

An emotional loss to deal with but the couple is thankful they got out okay.

Previous Story: Firefighters will be mopping up hot spots all day at the site of this morning's three alarm fire.  Three buildings in Over-the-Rhine were destroyed and two others suffered smoke damage.

Cincinnati Fire Captain Michael Washington says the three buildings may need to be torn down.

Fire investigators are on the scene attempting to determine what started the early morning blaze.

Original Story: Cincinnati fire crews have been on the scene of a three alarm fire in 14 hundred block of Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine since around 3:30 this morning. Three buildings are engulfed in flames with fire spreading to a fourth building and now a fifth building.

Fire fighters are currently engaged in a defensive operation, fighting the blaze from the exterior.  Fire crews are considering striking another alarm to call in additional personnel to help fight the fire.

The fire began in Smitty's Mens Clothing Store.  Smoke can still be seen rolling from the buildings.  The smoke is blocking out downtown high rises and can be seen from Interstate 75.

Smitty's has been for 84 years.  It carried everything a man could need according to the owner.

Captain Michael Washington of the Cincinnati Fire Department says there is a great deal of combustible material inside the building.

Fire fighters rescued two people from the building where the fire began.  There are no injuries.

Several streets around the fire are closed to traffic.

FOX19 will update this story.

If you have photos of the fire email them to wx@fox19.com.