The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 2, 2013

Cause still unknown for Conneaut New Year's Eve blaze

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Investigators are still trying to determine what started a New Year’s Eve fire that caused heavy damage to a Hayward Avenue house, according to reports.

The fire at 120 Hayward began in a front room where a pellet-burning stove and at least two electrical heaters were located, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Sanford said Wednesday. However, he stopped short of saying the devices kindled the blaze.

“There is no cause at this time,” Sanford said.

Flames quickly traveled up to the building’s second floor, firefighters said.

Two dogs died in the fire that began after 4:30 p.m., Sanford said. The fire caused an estimated $50,000 damage to the house and contents, firefighters said.

The house was packed with property, making it difficult for firefighters to move once inside, Sanford said. Even with the obstacles, the fire was doused quickly, firefighters have said.

Except for the dogs, no one was home when the fire began, Sanford said. A man and woman live in the house, which reportedly is owned by the man’s sister who resides out of the area, he said.

Names of the owner and occupants were not immediately available, firefighters said. The American Red Cross sent help to the scene, firefighters said.