TIFFIN, OH – The famed Kear’s Speed Shop escaped with relatively minor water damage after a March 17 fire consumed other portions of the building in which the race shop was housed.
At 12:45 p.m. afternoon the city of Tiffin, Oh., reported that a fire had broken out at the Kear’s Speed Shop building in downtown Tiffin.
The fire involved a two-story brick building with two occupied apartments on the upper level and vacant business space on the first floor of the Kear’s Speed Shop building. Three separate surrounding city fire departments were dispatched and called in to help contain the fire from spreading, as crews battled freezing temperatures and blowing snow along with icing conditions.
The building is owned by Shirley Kear who lives above her store. Her apartment and shop are next door but are in a separate building from the one that burned.
“She owns all of it,” said Fire Chief Kevin Veletean of Tiffin Fire Rescue Division.
“Shirley owns everything.” Veletean went on to say the fire did not spread to Kear’s apartment. She could smell smoke in her apartment, and the shop was not damaged, he said.
Veletean said the store would be able to reopen without any issues once power was restored. Below the apartments that burned is a garage containing 10 to 12 classic cars. Firefighters were able to stop the fire before it got there, and the cars were not damaged.
The fire itself was contained to the apartment’s east end above the garage with no fire or water reaching into the speed shop. Firefighters kept the fire that destroyed apartments from spreading next door to other businesses Friday afternoon. There is however, some smoke damage in the shop as the apartment was destroyed. No injuries were reported.
Owner Shirley Kear issued this statement: “We want to thank everyone for your phone calls, texts and concern regarding the fire. We will be closed tomorrow (Saturday) due to some water damage and no electricity or heat. The apartments above are destroyed but everyone made it out safely. Hopefully we will be open Monday.”
Kear has owned the speed shop at 6 E. Market St. for 48 years, and it handles sprint car equipment for area tracks. Kear said she was working at the shop when a resident, who had been giving her young daughter a bath, came down the steps screaming, ‘Fire’.
It was billowing from the building.
“The baby was not even dressed, they lost everything,” Kear said.
People who had been in Kear’s Speed Shop had gone upstairs to get people out, she said. Stafford said flames were shooting out windows on the second story when she arrived, and there was a lot of smoke.