Delaware fire officials last week attributed quick action -- and a bit of luck -- to the containment of a downtown fire.

Delaware fire officials last week attributed quick action -- and a bit of luck -- to the containment of a downtown fire.

An apparent electrical short in the bedroom of a second-floor apartment last Tuesday caused an estimated $50,000 in damage to a building at 38 S. Sandusky St.

According to Delaware fire Chief John Donahue, however, the event could have been much more devastating to the downtown.

"Had they not gotten there as soon as they did, we would have seen a dramatic increase in the size of the fire," Donahue said. "It was going into 'void' spaces and it could have spread to other buildings.

"It could have been significant."

The fire wasn't reported. Rather, it was discovered around 9:05 a.m. by Delaware firefighters responding to another service call.

"Had the fire gone without our engine company seeing it, we could have had a much larger fire," Donahue said. "It was a pretty good size fire when they saw it."

In addition to the Delaware Fire Department, personnel from five nearby fire agencies and Delaware County Emergency Medical Services responded to the blaze. It was extinguished in about 29 minutes of arrival by those officials. Damage primarily was limited to the apartment where it began.

The building houses a first-floor dance studio, plus two second-floor apartments.

Ohio Wesleyan University leases space on the first floor for dance classes. Cole Hatcher, OWU assistant director of media and community relations, said no classes were in session at the time of the blaze, but a university cleaning man was at the site and provided access to the building to responding firefighters.

"We were very fortunate," Hatcher said. "There was very little damage that affected the dance area.

"There was a little ceiling tile damage, but I'm told it was minimal. I also understand at least one (dance) class met outdoors (Tuesday afternoon)."

Hatcher said classes resumed in the studio on Wednesday afternoon.

Donahue said no one was in either apartment at the time of the fire. The one that caught fire had been occupied until about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday.

While the dance studio and one apartment were deemed safe for occupancy shortly after the fire was put out, Donahue said the apartment where the fire sparked was "fairly well gutted."

"About $30,000 in damage occurred to the structure, and about $20,000 in damage was to the apartment's contents," Donahue said. "It's all upstairs, except for some really minor water damage to the first floor ceiling."

The Delaware County chapter of the American Red Cross was called upon to provide assistance to the man and woman who live in the apartment where the fire broke out.

A Concord Township firefighter was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after responding to the fire, but Donahue said he experienced complications from a pre-existing medical condition, and was not injured by the fire.

The fireman was treated and released from the hospital on Tuesday, Donahue said.