Bowling Green Fire Department, 1898

Fire Flashback: Possible Arson at the Saratoga Building, Feb. 9, 1992

From The Daily News
by Steve Chaplin

Arson is suspected in a blaze Saturday that destroyed the vacant Saratoga building on Old Louisville Road, according to a Bowling Green Fire Department assistant chief. More than 20 firefighters responded to the three-story fire after nearby residents reported smoke coming from windows and the roof about 5:50 p.m. Firefighters were quickly forced outside because of heavy smoke and numerous fires in the structure, Assistant Chief Randall Gann said.

"It was fully involved when we got here. We attempted an interior attack but we discovered fires throughout the building and we could only attack one or two while the others got out of control," Gann said Saturday at the fire scene. "It was too dangerous to stay inside."

There was a concern that a transient woman might have been staying in the basement of the building, but an initial search by firefighters revealed no signs of anyone inside.

"I believe it was set," Gann said while coordinating the placement of water hoses at the scene.

Heavy black smoke billowed from windows on the first and second stories and flames engulfed the roof within 20 minutes after the fire call was received by dispatchers. Witnesses next door at 1460 Old Louisville Road and those standing in front of Ken's used tires across the steet both reported seeing people go behind the building befoer the fire was reported.

Bowling Green police Officer Terry Steff said he knew at least one witness saw people leaving before the fire scene, but that person and others had yet to be interviewed. "I think we have one witness; somebody who called it in," he said.

"There's a lot of flame and a lot of smoke. We had to back everybody out. I think it has a steel structure so it could cave in at any time," Capt. Gary Hazel as he pulled off an oxygen tank after coming out of the burning building.

Firefighters pulled out of the building and set up fire hoses nearby as flames began coming out of windows and the roof. At least six units with at least 20 men were at the scene, Gann said. The building, which was known as both the Saratoga and the C.L. Cutliff Building, was vacant.

No injuries had been reported, but firefigthers remained on the scene at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

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