Ohio Christian University got the call to respond to a large fire at Hocking Hills Dining Lodge on Thursday afternoon. The fire began early that morning and burnt all day. The fire was so large that a Statewide alert was sent out for additional support. Due to the size of the fire, its location, and a lack of a water system, more than 29 departments responded with more than 280 firefighters and multiple other public safety officials throughout the day.
Ohio Christian University was contacted by Box 65 and was asked to provide scene support. Box 65 is a local emergency support organization out of Circleville with the goal of serving first responders. Ohio Christian University’s Emergency Management Program and Box 65 have a longstanding partnership and often work together to assist the community.
OCU’s Emergency Management Program Alumnus Ethan Allen responded with the OCU Emergency Management response vehicle. Ethan served first responders from all over the state and was also tasked with managing the multiple donations of snacks and drinks coming in from the surrounding communities. When asked about the experience, Ethan advised “It was a challenging day for all of the entities involved. This fire taxed resources like never before and pushed the limits of what many local agencies thought was possible.” He added, “It was amazing to see so many people come together to get the job done; the most amazing part was to see a community come together and provide for those that try to ensure our safety.” Many donations rolled in throughout the evening from caring people that simply wanted to bless those responding. OCU cleared the scene around 1 am. The building was a complete loss, but fortunately no one was injured in the situation.