Cloverdale Townhall Fire - Putnam Sentinel
After spending over two hours battling the initial blaze, firefighters were recalled to the scene at roughly 9 a.m. on Sunday to investigate a possible rekindling of a fire at the Cloverdale Town Hall. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

CLOVERDALE — Following an investigation on Monday, investigators with the Ohio Fire Marshall’s Office determined a fire that gouged out the Cloverdale Town Hall early Sunday morning was deliberately set.

“The only thing (the investigators) told me is they did determine it was arson,” Cloverdale Mayor Thomas Burkhart said on Tuesday. “They pretty much said they’re not going to give out any more information just so they can do their investigation.”

Putnam County 911 dispatchers received a call at approximately 4:20 a.m. reporting a fire at 210 Mahoning Street. By 4:37 a.m., firefighters with the Kalida and Ottoville Volunteer Fire Departments were on scene, reporting smoke coming out from all four sides of the building, though no flames were immediately evident. The scene was cleared by all firefighters by 6:30 a.m., though emergency personnel returned to the scene at around 9 a.m. for a reported rekindling.

Despite the potential for catastrophe, the contents of the building received remarkably little damage.

“The fire was on the side where we have our meetings, and they got the actual flames out pretty fast, so the rest of the building just sustained smoke damage,” Mr. Burkhart said. “All of our minute books, all of our records, are still there. They’re just covered with soot. We didn’t lose any records.”

That piece of good news helped buoy spirits of village officials, eliminating the possibility of their actions proving unauditable by the State of Ohio; a situation in which the village found itself in the aftermath of the tornado that devastated the village in 2013.

“It’s just going to be a major clean-up,” Mr. Burkhart said.