Vacant apts. burn again

LIBERTY – In a scene that has become all too familiar for residents along Naylor-Lloyd Road, a fourth structure in the former Barclay Square Apartment complex burned to the ground early Friday morning.

The fire was reported at 1743 Naylor-Lloyd Road near Belmont Avenue at 1:36 a.m., according to reports. The Liberty Fire Department arrived on the scene to find the structure engulfed in flames, officials said.

Britaney Newell, who lives across the street from the complex, said she awoke to find the building ablaze.

“I just happened to wake up around 2 in the morning,” Newell said. “I looked out my bedroom window and it was burning. I came down to the porch and sat here watching the fire department.”

Firefighters allowed the vacant building to burn. Officials said the fire is under investigation and “suspicious.”

“We saw a car pull in there around 10 or 10:30 that night,” Newell said. “We don’t know if it was connected, because there is always something going on over there. I’d say 40 cars a day go in and out of it.”

According to Newell, the fire department was most concerned with the possibility of the fire spreading or causing heat damage to neighboring homes.

“They kept touching our house and stuff to see if our house was going to catch,” Newell said. “If the house were to catch, they were obviously going to spray the house, and they wanted to know if the water would get into the bedroom. It was very hot.”

No additional damage to surrounding homes was reported and there were no injuries.

In what has become a trend, the 32-unit apartment building is the fourth structure at the former complex to burn to the ground in the last several years.

On Nov. 4, 2011, the rear building at the complex was destroyed as firefighters allowed it to burn. That fire occurred in the middle of the day.

Two weeks after the initial blaze, a second section burned to the ground. The state Fire Marshal’s Office ruled that fire to be the result of arson.

The complex has been abandoned since at least 2006, according to officials. According to the Trumbull County Auditor’s website, David F. and Terri J. Lawton own the property.

Following Friday’s fire, just one structure remains standing at the former Barclay Square Apartments.

Newell’s husband, Ron, said the township should take matters into its own hands.

“I’m waiting for that last one to go,” Ron Newell said. “I think they need to take the rest of it down and level it out to stop the problem from being over there. But they won’t because it’s full of asbestos.”

Britaney Newell said the site is a source of near constant criminal activity.

“People go over there at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning doing whatever they are going to do, whether it’s dumping or doing drugs,” Newell said. “It keeps my husband up all night because of the dogs barking. I think if they tear it down, it would be a lot less drama for everyone.”

By Friday afternoon, the building was still smoldering with small fires burning inside the structure.