CLINTONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – As Columbus mourns the loss of SWAT officer Steven Smith, the six people who lost their homes and belongings in the fire that erupted at 14 W. California Avenue are trying to rebuild their lives.
Jake Sidorski lived in one of those apartments. He remembers being home Saturday night around 10:30 p.m. as officers arrived to serve Rutledge with a warrant.
“I was sitting on my couch. An officer knocked on my door asking me some questions about the neighbor,” describes Sidorski. “He asked if I knew him well and if I knew anything about the apartment building and how it was laid out.”
He decided it was a good time to leave.
He returned around 2:00 a.m. only to find his apartment building blocked off. Sidorski left and stayed with a friend, alerting his boss where he would be for the night.
“He sent me a text at 4:30 in the morning when the news first came on telling me my building was on fire,” said Sidorski.
Jake scoured the internet for information and when he returned later Sunday morning, he discovered fire and water had destroyed much of the building. Childhood memories, like baseball cards, a guitar and comic books are all lost.
But Jake isn’t dwelling on his misfortune.
“I’m all right and that’s the real important thing,” he tells NBC4.
Clintonville residents and businesses are doing what they can to help the six individuals move on with their lives.
Nancy’s Home Cooking, where SWAT officers and firefighters took up tactical positions Sunday morning, reopened Wednesday, starting a fundraiser for the fire victims.
The artists at Spiritus Tattoo, which sits at the corner of N. High Street and W. California Avenue, are also helping by collecting clothes, food and other items.
“The shop is fine. I began feeling a little bit bad about it,” said owner Mike Moses. “All these people have lost absolutely everything.”
Sidorski is grateful for the support from the Clintonville community and his co-workers at Press Grille in the Short North.
“I’d like to thank everybody that was able to donate to me and the rest of the tenants,” said Jake.
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