Former Dayton soap factory’s bad year: 2 fires, collapse and demolition

The collapse of the front wall of the former Hewitt Soap Factory in a massive fire this morning is the latest issue at the Linden Avenue site victimized by fire December.

Here are some of the events of the past 11 months involving the Dayton site:

-DEC. 22, 2016: A fire on the southern side of the property destroys a building at the facility constructed at 333 Linden Ave. in 1897. Flames burned through the roof in spots and caused the top floor in sections of the building to collapse at the site, which ceased operation in 2004.

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Firefighters were concerned with the structural stability of the former factory and Linden Avenue between East Fifth Street and Hamilton Avenue was blocked off. Officials said the building would be demolished.

-EARLY MARCH 2017: Residents express concern about debris left over from the December fire at the former soap factory.

They say nothing has been done and rubble from the fire is spilling into the street. One resident said a steel beam was hanging out in the road and there is no safety barrier or caution tape around the pile of debris.

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Fire officials said the building was unstable and would need to be demolished. The city of Dayton says cleanup of the building is the responsibility of the owner, but the planning department will assess the site to see if there is an issue with public safety.

-LATE JULY 2017: More than six months after fire destroyed the old soap factory, the city announced the road will close for up to a month so crews can demolish a portion of the facility damaged in the December fire. The city said it plans to post a detour for motorists.

-NOV. 10, 2017: Fire breaks out again at the site, this time at a three-story building on the site's norther side, becoming the largest fire in Dayton since the property caught fire last year. Officials ask for an emergency demolition for more of the site.

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