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Fire damages Akron building housing unopened restaurant, uninsured barbershop

Akron Diagonal Road fire (1).jpg
Akron Diagonal Road fire 1.jpg
Posted at 7:36 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 18:59:33-05

AKRON, Ohio — A building that houses several businesses was damaged in a fire in Akron Friday, including a barbecue restaurant that hasn't opened yet, and a barbershop that wasn't insured.

At 12:43 a.m., Akron firefighters responded to a building at 1239 Diagonal Road.

News 5 photojournalist Mike Vielhaber captured smoke and flames billowing from the building.

According to the Akron Fire Department, the building housed three businesses.

Juan Mitchell co-owned Foundations Automotive Group, and owned Reggie Ray’s Smokehouse BBQ, which hadn’t opened yet.

Mitchell told News 5 he had planned on opening the new eatery in two months, all as a way to honor his grandfather.

“My grandfather always said never be a victim of circumstances,” he said. “It’s up to us to pick up the hammer and shovel and rebuild. The fire was a setback, but it’s not going to stop anything from happening.”

It wasn’t easy for Henry McGrady, founder of Henry’s West Side Barbershop, to see what had happened to his shop.

“We just found out so I doubt we’ll sleep tonight,” he said. “I gave it to my grandson. He was running it.”

McGrady told News 5 the barbershop did not have insurance, and he's “just trying to see if we can salvage anything out of there."

By Friday afternoon, demolition crews took down all of the barbershop and the unopened BBQ joint, leaving behind the auto repair shop.

A spokesperson for the fire department said the cause of the fire still has not been determined.

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