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Early Morning Fire Erupts At West Side Market

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Questions surround today’s pre-dawn fire that’s shut down Cleveland’s West Side Market. As ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, it’s unlikely answers will be coming any time soon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Fire crews arrived at the market at 2 am. The fire severely damaged two vendor stands near the front of the building, Sebastian’s Meats and Foster’s Meats.

Assistant Fire Chief Brent Collins told reporters that soot and smoke has also covered much of the interior of the century-old facility.

“It does not appear suspicious. It appears accidental," Collins said. "I have my fire investigation unit inside, trying to determine the exact cause of the fire, and as soon as we get that, we’ll relay that to all of you.”

Now investigators and city officials say they’ll keep the West Side Market closed for an indefinite period, as they try to assess the full damage to both the facility and the food.

City of Cleveland Director of Public Works, Mike Cox, says market vendors are insured, and the city will discuss how to cover the cost of repairs.

"We also understand the impact to the neighborhood. And to the customers at West Side Market," Cox told ideastream. "So we’re working again diligently to get this open, and that we’re serving the public and getting this facility back online.”

There’s no set timeline as to when the market may fully reopen, but a separate section containing mostly fruit and vegetable stands could open well ahead of the damaged section.

The West Side Market recently marked its centennial. Officials had no comment as to whether antiquated wiring or other infrastructure issues may have been at fault.