The fast actions and quick thinking of owner Dave Mason of Watts True Value Hardware in Newcomerstown saved the store last Wednesday from a fire that could have consumed the entire building.

Mason arrived at work, like always, at 10 till 8 a.m. Feb. 29 and smelled something different.

"It was not the typical hardware smell," he said. It was the smell of an electrical fire caused by lightning striking the store's electrical box in the basement.

In Mason's fast thinking, he grabbed a fire extinguisher off the shelf and started extinguishing the flames that were rising to some three feet in the air.

Meanwhile, owner Dan Loader called the fire department to help with the flames.

Mason was able to extinguish the fire but the Newcomerstown Fire Department was able to knock down any flare-ups and check for "hot spots" in the walls.

"I commend them for getting here as quick as they did," Mason said.

No one was injured in the fire. Mason called his brother, Tom, who installed a new electrical box and the store opened at 10 that morning.

Western Auto opened in Newcomerstown in 1953 and moved to its current location at 202 W. Main Street in 1958.