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Downtown Fire Destroys Thousands of Costumes

Some Columbus firefighters spent much of the afternoon removing damaged theatrical costumes from a restored building that houses several businesses. Firefighters earlier put out a two-alarm fire at Costume Specialists.

Fire investigators do not know what started the fire at 211 North Fifth Street. Firefighters responded to a blaze on the third floor of the warehouse just before noon.

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Mark DeVine said smoke from the upstairs fire filled the entire building, making it difficult for firefighters to get to the fire.

"It took time for our guys to find the stairways, take the lines up the stairway. And then get into that third floor area where there was an extensive amount of fire. As you can imagine all these costumes are stacked floor to ceiling on racks, three and four racks tall. So there was a lot of fire load there because most of that stuff is polyester and it burns very well," DeVine said.

DeVine said the fire could have been worse, but the newer windows, he said, had tight seals, preventing more oxygen from getting to the flames. DeVine added there was very little structural damage.

As many as 20 people were evacuated from the building. There were no reported injuries. DeVine said there is no reason to believe the fire at Costume Specialists is related to an earlier fire at a Columbus elementary school.