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Lightning Strikes Bellows School in Franklinton

Brent Warren Brent Warren Lightning Strikes Bellows School in FranklintonA worker on the roof repairs damage from the fire. Photo by Walker Evans.
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The former Bellows School in Franklinton was struck by lightning last night, but the owner of the building insists that the damage was minimal and that renovation plans are still on track.

Yhezkel Levi, who bought the historic building in 2014 and announced plans to convert it into condos in 2017, told CU that Columbus Firefighters put out the fire caused by the lightning strike quickly, after determining that it was safe to enter the building.

“They went in and shut it down in a couple of minutes…they did an amazing job” Levi said.

The portion of the roof that was damaged by the fire was the equivalent of about two sheets of plywood, he added, and should be repaired within a day or two.

The building, at 725 Bellows Avenue, was featured on Columbus Landmarks’ Most Endangered List in 2014 and 2015. It was home to Bellows Avenue Elementary from 1905 to 1977.

It has been empty for many years, and little visible renovation progress has been made since Levi first unveiled his plan to convert the structure into residences more than three years ago.

That could change in the near future, though – the developer said that he is close to finalizing a new plan to convert the building into office space, and to expect an announcement on that front soon.

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