Vendor Calls West Side Market Fire ‘Horrendous’

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CLEVELAND -- The cause of Wednesday morning’s fire at the West Side Market remains a mystery, leaving Brian Foster out of work.

Foster has worked at the market for decades and his shop, Foster’s Meats, was one of two completely destroyed by the fire.

”It’s gone. The stand is gone,” he said. “Didn’t know what to think, honestly, just the amount of damage it did to the two stands was horrendous.”

The fire started at the northwest end of the market at neighbor Sebastian’s Meats.

While the investigation is still ongoing, the cause appears to be accidental, said Maureen Harper, chief of communications for the City of Cleveland.

The northwest end of the market remains covered in ash and soot, even up to the ceiling.

The fire also cracked a column near the meat vendors. Harper said that damage will not compromise the structure of the building. The city is also expediting the process of repairing and cleaning up any damage.

However, Foster worries that may not come soon enough. He believes it may be months before he will return to work.

“Hopefully they’ll get the market cleaned up in a decent amount of time,” Foster said. “I’ve got to go in and assess what’s not there anymore to replace. Hopefully my other stand will be, within a couple of weeks, operational enough maybe I can work out of one stand and at least do something.”

Doors at West side Market will remain closed indefinitely. However, Harper said produce vendors are allowed to resume business on Friday. The produce section is in a separate building, located north of the main market.

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Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:29 pm

The media tour ends. Rely on Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for additional updates as they become available.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:22 pm

Some of the stands away from the source of the fire look largely undisturbed.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:20 pm

The usually bustling West Side Market is eerily quiet during the media tour. You can hear reporters and photographers shuffling around and the occasional snap of a camera.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:14 pm

Glass display cases that once contained meat are shattered.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:13 pm

Debris can be seen on top of the counter in the area where the fire began.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:12 pm

The media is reminded to use caution during the tour.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:11 pm

Tour of market damage begins.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:10 pm

Vendors have private insurance for their own property.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:08 pm

Vendors in the produce building may open beginning on Friday.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:08 pm

Vendors were allowed to visit their stands and remove some personal effects.

Jessica Dabrowski January 31, 20133:07 pm

Maureen Harper with the City of Cleveland begins the news conference.