Fire Ravages Wayland

February 22, 2022

By Jasmine Willis

WAYLAND — A huge fire started in an upstairs apartment on 10 N. Main Street and quickly spread to the neighboring building.

On Feb. 22 a fire started around 10:55 a.m. in one of the two apartments above a tattoo shop on 10 N. Main Street. Everyone was evacuated on time without any human casualties.
However, a couple of pets were lost in the blaze. Wayland Fire Department was first on scene with Perkinsville, Cohocton, Livonia, Dansville, Hornell, Bath and Springwater fire departments assisting. Fire fighters continued to battle the engulfing flames until late afternoon.

Painful Pleasures Tattoo Owner John Magee had just moved his business to 10 N. Main five months prior. He found out about the fire and its damage shortly after is started.

“I live around the corner and own the tattoo shop where the fire started in the apartment. I was at home, and I got a call from my tenant saying an air fryer started a fire in the back of the apartment. I asked if everyone had gotten out okay since that was my main concern,” he said. “I came up as soon as I heard, and I have been watching the fire. When I got here it was contained to the building, but when they broke windows, it started to spread. At first the fire was smoldering, but when I walked out back I saw some flames. From a good ways away you could feel the heat.”

Magee said this fire has devastated the community.

“This is a small community and everyone is really close. It is going to be huge especially with all these businesses. It is a small community that relies on these businesses to thrive. It is not like a big city or something,” he said. “In my apartments there was a single lady in the back and a mother and daughter up front. In the other apartments I know there was a girl with a couple kids, and another gentleman. There was the Chinese restaurant with their whole family.”

Magee will see what he can salvage from the fire and move on.

“I’m going to see what I can salvage and move on from here. I will try and recoup what I lost and get back at it sometime. My main thing I asked was if everyone got out okay. You can replace items. You can’t replace lives,” he said. “I had a shop around the corner and I just moved up here about five months ago. It was a fresh start, and every night I went home I was always worried about things with the apartments upstairs. I can recoup my loss and move on, but some of these people can’t. Their whole lives were upstairs. I was lucky to have some of my stuff at home.”

Magee said he has been in fires before and wanted to make sure everyone was safe. He said it is traumatic for the children who have lost everything.
Tim Marshall, Steuben County fire coordinator was at the scene to discuss the details.

“At approximately 10:55 a.m. we had a reported fire at 10 N. Main Street. Fire units arrived on the scene and went to check on the apartments. They saw smoke in the hallway. They saw heavy smoke coming from the building. The third alarm brought seven Steuben County units to the scene, three Livingston County units, and two departments on standby. There were four EMS agencies on the scene today,” he said. “The fire is in mop up mode right now. The initial fire was under control at 1:42 p.m. Right now about seven apartments were affected by this fire. There may be additional ones once we get in and make further determination. The Red Cross has been called in to assist and provide help to the residents affected by the fire.”

Marshall said the majority of the work battling the fire was done street side.

“There were also crews working from the back of the building at the alley. We had three ladder trucks on the scene. Wayland was the first one on the scene. We had Hornell City Fire Department bring up a ladder. The fire is still under investigation at this time. It will be a while before we determine the cause.”

Marshall said it has made a devastating impact on the historic downtown.

“When you look at this area down here there is a limited amount of downtown still left here in Wayland. This is going to be a major effect on the community,” he said. “As of this time there are no reports of any injuries. All the residents have been accounted for. Right now we are assembling crews to go inside to do some mop up and open up some ceilings. They need to check any additional fire that is in the pockets. The fire is under control and we don’t expect any more fire spreading at this time.”

Marshall added the units will be out longer to hit the hot spots and make sure no more fire has been trapped. The electric and gas has been shut off to determine the safety of the buildings. Multiple businesses were evacuated to keep everyone safe.