UPDATE: High school wrestling program vows to come back after fire

Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 11:34 AM EST
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UPDATE 11/22/17 @ 10:15 p.m.

While fire torched almost everything at a high school wrestling facility in Meigs County, it didn’t damage the determination of its wrestlers to move ahead.

Even the “E” for Eastern High School is no longer recognizable after the fire which started Tuesday night and rekindled early Wednesday morning.

"It's more than a building,” said Dillon Aeiker, junior captain of the wrestling program. “It took a long time to get it where it was, a lot of work."

The wrestling program at Eastern has only been around for three years.

Aaeiker has been around from the beginning, making an old storage building into a place they could call their own. Now just a few items are left behind -- the twisted pieces of metal from an exercise bike, the singed wrestling mat.

"It kind of sucks because we had everything in there -- our shoes, our mats, our brand new scale that we just bought, which is over there melted,” said Gavin Erwin.

Firefighters thought they had fully extinguished the fire when they left around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. But it reignited about three and a half hours later, and this time there was no stopping it.

But the wrestlers aren’t stopping either. A program that had about six wrestlers the first two years now has a dozen.

"We can still practice,” Erwin said. “We just have to find a place to practice."

With their brand new mat stored inside the school about the only thing left, the captains promise they will rise from the ashes.

While firefighters aren't sure what caused the fire, they say it doesn’t appear to be suspicious.

Wednesday was the first day of Thanksgiving vacation for Eastern High School. Their first wrestling meet is Dec. 2 at Fairland High School.


A school in our area will have to rebuild their wrestling facility after a fire.

The wrestling building at Eastern High School in Meigs County is a total loss after multiple fires.

According to Chester VFD Chief David Edwards, the department got the call just before 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The building was full of smoke and foam pads were burning.

All crews on scene went home about three hours later after they thought the fire was completely out.

Around 5:30 Wednesday morning, the fire rekindled and flames were coming through the roof of the building when emergency crews arrived on scene.

Chief Edwards says the building is completely gutted.

Superintendent Steve Ohlinger tells WSAZ the wrestling program at the school is only in its third year.

The building was also used for track equipment and general storage.