Disaster strikes the small Seneca County Village of Ovid as a fast-moving fire destroyed an entire block of downtown Tuesday evening. Tamara Lindstrom was on the scene Wednesday as investigators searched for answers, and the community responded to the loss.
OVID, N.Y. -- Bits of debris fall from the fresh ruins of Ovid's Main Street Thursday as residents return home to gather what's left of their belongings.
"Shocking. It still kind of is. It's the first time I've ever had a fire," said Wanda Osborne, whose apartment burned. "I was grateful everybody got out."
"It's a tragedy. It's unreal," said Sheila Reynolds, a member of the Ovid Fire Department Ladies' Auxiliary. "You never think it's going to happen and then when it does it's unbelievable."
Firefighters rushed to the scene at 5:45 Tuesday evening.
Ovid Fire Chief William Palmer says about 40 departments responded to help quell the flames.
"Right away we activated our tanker task force for more water because we knew the water was going to be an issue," Palmer said. "There's three businesses and seven apartments that are all destroyed."
A total of four buildings on Main Street were involved, including an Italian restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, an assessment office and apartments. Long-time residents say they haven't seen a tragedy of this magnitude in decades.
"The last major fire we had in the village was 1953 when the Franklin Hotel across the street burned," Palmer said. "At that time I was ten years old standing in the doorway watching it."
As onlookers reminisce about the last devastating fire, they say the spirit of community will help the village rebound once again.
"The community, they stepped up," Reynolds said. "They were helping making food and coffee and everything else. So it was really a community effort."
An effort for which Osborne, who moved to the area a year ago, says she's extremely grateful.
"I've never met a group of nicer people. These people are wonderful."
She says it's made a tragic experience a whole lot better.
Despite the damage, residents say they are glad everyone made it out okay. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.