COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Clintonville Community is rallying to support the six families left without homes after fire erupted at destroyed the apartment building at 14 W. California Ave.
The fire erupted as Columbus SWAT officers were attempting to serve an arson warrant to 44-year-old Lincoln Rutledge.
During the standoff, which began Saturday after 11:30 pm, Rutledge began shooting at police. He hit and critically wounded SWAT Officer Steven Smith, a 27-year veteran with Columbus Police.
“I watched the whole thing unfold, thinking Nancy’s was burning to the ground because of the angle I was sitting at,” said Rick Hahn, owner of Nancy’s Home Cooking.
Hahn said he was alerted to the standoff when his security system at the restaurant was tripped by police and firefighters trying to set up a vantage point outside of Rutledge’s apartment. It sits right behind Nancy’s Home Cooking.
“They broke the front door the glass and accessed the lock and they worked their way through the restaurant and to the back door.”
Hahn and several other businesses are taking donations for the people displaced by the fire that ripped through the apartment building. Hah and his crew have already given $1,000.
“The few guys that live behind us have been regulars here. They have patronized here. We don’t take kindly to situations like this in our community, especially when it hurts somebody we care about.”
While some lives will be rebuilt, others will never be the same. Hahn is praying that Officer Smith, a regular customer at Nancy’s, recovers.
“I truly believe that he’ll pull through and we will celebrate that when it happens,” Hahn said.
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