NEW BREMEN — Groups of New Bremen residents gathered on West Monroe Street Monday night, watching as firefighters fought a blaze that engulfed a historic downtown building.
Fire crews were dispatched to Fireside Pub, 115 W. Monroe St., where the pub shares the building with Que’s Barbershop at approximately 6:30 p.m. Monday. No one was injured in the fire, as the pub closes at 2 p.m. Mondays.
Upon arriving on the scene, fire crews began working to extinguish the fire.
“We tried to make an internal attack but we had to switch to an external approach,” New Bremen/Washington Township Assistant Fire Chief Ron Wente said.
The New Bremen/German Township Fire Department called for mutual aid from five area departments — Minster/Jackson Township, St. Marys Township, St. Marys, Chickasaw and Wapakoneta — to fight the fire. An aerial attack on the fire was led by New Bremen/Washington Township, Wapakoneta and St. Marys fire departments.
Fireside Pub employee Jeff Trego said he was out for a drive when he saw the fire.
“I drove by and I saw all the cops here,” he said, noting that fire crews arrived on the scene shortly after. “It was the whole back of the building (that was on fire).”
Trego said he quickly called Owner Misty Callahan and other Fireside Pub employees.
Coworker Mikayla Schott said she had been working at Fireside Pub for more than a year and was shocked to see the building in flames.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “It’s a sad thing. I don’t want to see that happen to the place I work.”
The building, which was constructed in 1895, used to be an opera house, and several New Bremen residents commented that the second floor of the building used to be home to ballroom dances. Community members stood by, watching fire crews fight the fire well into the night, sad to see the historical building in flames.
Firefighters worked several hours through the night to extinguish the blaze and received food and drinks through aid from the Red Cross of Auglaize County. Red Cross of Auglaize County Director Ken Cline said McDonald’s in Minster, Wagner’s IGA and Howell’s IGA all donated sandwiches and coffee for firefighters.
“In a situation like that, these firefighters don’t take the time — they don’t have the time — to take a break and eat, but they can grab a sandwich,” Cline said. “Without these donations, we wouldn’t be able to provide these kinds of things.”
Wente said the fire did not spread to surrounding buildings, and the fire is currently under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office. A fire marshal was on the scene today.
— Photos provided by David Pence