Norton fire investigators are trying to determine what caused a massive blaze early Tuesday morning that destroyed a Wooster Roofing & Construction Co. building on Wadsworth Road.

"We may never find a cause because it's literally gone," Fire Chief Mike Schultz said Wednesday.

Authorities responded to the building at 1750 Wadsworth Road following a motion detector alarm at 1:15 a.m. and found the structure engulfed in flames. There also was a large explosion.

"Three-quarters of the building was gone already," Schultz said.

 

Firefighters set up a defensive position and protected nearby buildings.

Business owner Gary Nusbaum said the fire occurred before anyone was at the building, which housed the family-owned business’ offices and warehouse. The business has been in Norton since 1920, he said.

Wooster Roofing employees have already moved to another building on the property that wasn’t damaged, Nusbaum said.

“We haven’t missed a beat. Business is normal,” he said, adding that he was thankful no one was injured.

Nusbaum said it's unknown how the fire started and he will wait to talk to insurance officials before deciding what to do.

Schultz didn't have a damage estimate.

"It was a complete loss and anything that was in it is gone," the fire chief said.

Fire companies from Akron, Barberton, Chippewa Township, Clinton, Copley Township, Fairlawn, Sharon Township and Wadsworth responded to the scene to help. A Chippewa firefighter had a minor injury when he slipped on the ice.

With below-freezing temperatures, it was difficult to fight the fire, Schultz said.

"The water was freezing as fast as we were putting it down," he said, adding that a city crew was brought in to spread salt at the scene to help prevent the area from turning to ice.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.