Lake County General Health District to close for months after fire

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- The Lake County General Health District in Painesville will be closed for 4-6 months following a fire Wednesday.

Painesville Fire Chief Mark Mlachak said it started sometime around 6:30 a.m.

"The problem is you've got a steel roof and about three to four inches of foam insulation, and a lot of the fire is between the two so we have to pull all of that roofing off,” he said.

It’s unclear what caused the fire, but it happened sometime after the storm knocked out the city’s power.

“The city of Painesville lost power for five to ten minutes, and when we got down here, Painesville’s power was back on. The building’s generator was still working so we don't know if there was a mechanical failure or what,” said Mlachak.

The building is home to the Lake County Health Department. Inside, there are a lot of sensitive documents and equipment. It’s hard to say how much of it was damaged, but he said firefighters tried to salvage as much as possible.

Crews from other departments were called in to assist because the fire was labor intensive. Not to mention, many of the firefighters had been on the scene since the early morning hours.

Until the building reopens, services will be relocated and offered at other area offices.

WIC clients are being individually contacted and a mobile WIC unit will be in the parking lot of the health department on Friday, Aug. 22.

Anyone who needs their vaccination is asked to contact their health provider.

Temporary numbers that clients and customers can call should they have any questions include:

  • Main Contact: 440-350-2543
  • Vital Statistics: 440-350-2549
  • Nursing: 440-350-2554
  • WIC: 440-350-2818

The following numbers are also available for specific information:

  • 440-918-5470
  • 440-918-5493
  • 440-918-5469

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