GARRETTESVILLE -- Three months after an epic blaze literallyiped out the center of town, the community is rallying together to rebuild.
Some of the proceeds from the town's annual summer fest will go towards rebuilding. The event will have raffle tickets available for purchase, to boost the amount they can put towards their efforts.
Right where the fire took out the center of town, the community is saying we're "Garrettsville strong," by holding their annual summer fest right where the fire took 13 buildings.
So far, Mayor Rick Patrick says $67,000 has been raised, however rebuilding will cost between $10 million and $20 million.
Patrick's wife Linnette was shopping at one of the Main Street stores, now in ashes, when the fire began.
"We stayed here all day and just watched it," Linnette tells Channel 3's Hilary Golston. "It was one of those things you couldn't stand to watch, but you couldn't take your eyes away from it."
She called her husband, who was away in Cleveland, to tell him the news. "I don't think he was comprehending what I was saying… cause I was babbling… Garrettsville was on fire," Linnette says. "Then, I did send him a picture. He got back here just as quickly as he could."
Mayor Patrick reports the city has met with architects to determine a plan for rebuilding. The community is also assessing infrastructure and utility concerns before rebuilding can begin.
He hopes to break ground within a year and see some new edifices standing in two years.
Patrick is hoping to have buildings that integrate with the remaining historic buildings and can at least remind citizens of the older edifices, some built in the 1850s. However, many agree the buildings lost to the flames can never be replaced.
"It was very emotional. I've been here for 40 years, grew up here and just to see the history that went up in flames… that can never be replaced," Patrick tells Golston. "We're going to make something to fit in with that and it will be brand new."
Community members also say that business has fallen on Main Street because many people don't realize there's still a lot of commerce up and running in Garrettsville. "I think the message I want to get out to everybody is that Garrettsville is still alive," Garrettsville resident Mike Young says. "A lot of people thought the entire town burned down."
Here's a link where you can donate to the Garrettsville Strong fund.