Fire crews in several communities were called to four blazes Friday morning - including one that gutted a Warren house owned by former Benji Brown's club owner LaShawn Ziegler.
About 3 a.m. fire crews responded to a blaze at 209 Washington N.W., Warren. Fire Chief Ken Nussle said the blaze "resulted in the gutting of the house." The roof eventually caved.
The person renting the house was not home at the time of the fire, Nussle said, and no injuries were reported.
Damage estimates were not yet available, though the house was last appraised in 2011 for $64,200.
The house, according to the Trumbull County Auditor's website, is owned by Ziegler and Sherri L. Ramsey.
Nussle confirmed investigators were talking to Ziegler about the fire on Friday. However, he said that the cause of the blaze had not yet been determined and remained under investigation.
Attempts by a Tribune Chronicle reporter to reach Ziegler for comment on Friday were not successful.
Ziegler has been a familiar name in the news over the past several years.
His nightclub, Benji Brown's, 2261 N. Park Ave., was boarded up by the city in April 2008 after a judge declared it a nuisance based on neighborhood complaints about noise, gunshots and fights.
A legal battle with the city resulted from the action, but was resolved a month later when Ziegler agreed to have the property revert back to its original owner.
Prior to Benji Brown's, Ziegler ran 77 Soul on Youngstown Road S.E., which became notorious for frequent visits by police.
That business was shuttered by the city in 2004 after officials claimed its usage had changed from a restaurant to a nightclub and the proper building permits were not obtained to make the necessary improvements.
Currently, Ziegler and his management company, which ran the now-closed Sunset Lounge, are among defendants in a lawsuit filed by the owner of Sunrise Inn, Ken Haidaris. The lawsuit claims, among other things, that Sunset management engaged in a pattern of activity to wreck the restaurant and cost it large sums of money.
Other fires reported Friday:
l Warren: 2:48 a.m., firefighters were called to 605 Sidells Court N.E., where flames damaged an apartment.
l Liberty: 1:30 a.m., fire destroyed a vacant apartment complex on 1743 Naylor Lloyd Road. Firefighters allowed the building, which had been vacant for several years, to burn. Officials said the fire is suspicious. The 32-unit apartment building is the fourth structure at the former complex to burn to the ground since November 2011.
l Youngstown: midnight, firefighters battled a blaze at a vacant house on the city's South Side. The fire erupted in the 500 block of Alexander Street, close to Poland Avenue. Neighbors said the house has been empty for some time.
All of the fires are under investigation.