Fire at ex-Interurban Depot in Genoa Ruled Arson

Arson has been ruled the cause of a fire last week that damaged a 125-year-old interurban railway station in Genoa, Ohio.

The fire occurred shortly after a banner had been placed on the side of the former Toledo, Port Clinton & Lakeside stone depot seeking contributions to help fund a restoration of the station that was estimated to cost $250,000.

One news report said that there was thought to have been some opposition to the restoration plans.

Mark Camp, the author of several books about railroad stations in Ohio, said that the Genoa station was one of a handful of interurban depots left in northwest Ohio.

“It’s an important structure,” Camp said. “With a little work, I’m sure it could have been restored to its previous condition and given people a little sense of history here in Genoa.”

The Genoa station had in recent years been used for storage.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information on the blaze.

An investigation is being conducted by the Genoa Fire Department, Genoa Police Department and the State Fire Marshal’s office.

“Intentionally set fires are not something we take lightly, and tips from the public will help us find who was responsible for this,” said Interim State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey. “If you have any information, please come forward and help our investigators solve this case.”

Genoa resident Eric Hise, who had been working with the city to preserve the depot, said it was built from stone from a nearby quarry and had been used by Clay Township for storage for about 60 years after trolley service was discontinued.

In recent years, though, the depot had been owned by the village of Genoa, which also used it for storage.

“I’m just a little shocked that out of nowhere this thing goes up in flames,” Hise said.

Fire officials said the blaze burned through the roof, but the building was still standing.

Genoa Mayor Ken Harsanje said a meeting would be held to discuss the future of the depot and the adjacent GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) hall.

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