SUGARCREEK — The Walnut Creek Amish Country Flea Market suffered extensive damage from an early morning fire Wednesday.
The cause of the fire still is unclear at this point, Sugarcreek Fire Department Chief Kevin Miller said.
Fire investigators are on the scene with the State Fire Marshall to determine the cause, said Holmes County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Richard Haun.
Miller said firefighters were able to keep the flames contained between two firewalls near the center of the structure at 1900 State Route 39 in Holmes County. But other areas of the building suffered smoke and water damage.
Fire crews arrived on the scene around 4 a.m. after the Sugarcreek Fire Department received a call of a structure fire with flames showing through the roof, Miller said.
There were no injuries and no one was inside the building when the fire started, Miller said.
Miller estimated about 20 local fire stations answered the call, including Dover, Baltic and Wayne Townships. Three ladder trucks were on scene, Miller said.
“We ran out of water in about 30 seconds, which for a rural fire with no hydrants, is pretty good,” Miller said. “An adequate water source was our biggest challenge.”
The business is owned by Richard and Becky Zimmerman and their daughter January Tango. The family began receiving calls from vendors asking about the fire at around 4 a.m., Becky Zimmerman said. They arrived at the scene at 4:30 a.m., Richard Zimmerman said.
The Walnut Creek Amish Country Flea Market is roughly 55,000 square feet and holds 50 venders, the Zimmermans said, who started the flea market 11 years ago.
“It’s not a business, it’s a family,” said a teary-eyed Becky Zimmerman. “It’s our livelihood, our income.”
The market includes vendors selling furniture, jewelry, crafts as well as baked goods. Granda Schrocks Kitchen serves burgers, soup and baked items inside the market.
Tango said the family’s insurance agent was on the scene to determine the cost of the damage, but she said it’s not looking good.
“It’s not just a loss for us,” said Tango. “It’s a loss for everyone.”
Due to the fire, State Route 39 is closed in both directions between Township Road 420 and State Route 93, according to ODOT. Motorists should use an alternate route.
— Kristin Hohman can be reached at 330-674-5676 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at Kay_elizabeth07.