From the Columbus Dispatch, May 18, 2001


Friday, May 18, 2001
Not Attributed

The roof of a Downtown building under renovation was damaged by fire last night.

Columbus fire officials said they think workers in an elevator shaft of the historic Hartman Building at E. Main and S. 4th streets sparked the blaze with a welding torch and left without realizing what had happened.

A passer-by noticed the flames about 7 p.m. and called firefighters, Battalion Chief Robert Schmidt said.

Four men preparing drywall on the first floor continued to work, not realizing a fire was upstairs.

"A gentleman off the street ran in yelling, 'The building's on fire!' '' said Ralph Webb, one of the workers.

"I remember saying: 'No way. You're kidding.' You couldn't smell anything.''

Moments later, they saw fire engines.

"We grabbed our tools and ran,'' Webb said.

The 72,000-square-foot Hartman Building, a former hotel built in 1898, has been undergoing a $3 million renovation to house several technology companies.

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