The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 13, 2014

Fire does heavy damage to Conneaut home

93-year-old occupant escapes injury

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — A fire Wednesday afternoon caused heavy damage to a Furnace Road house, but a 93-year-old occupant escaped unharmed, firefighters said.

Cause of the fire at 971 Furnace Road is undetermined "at this point," Fire Chief Steve Lee said at the scene. Flames were confined to the living room and an adjoining room of the house, which was built in the 1880s, according to Ashtabula County auditor records.

"(The fire) was contained to a couple of rooms," Lee said.

He estimated damage to property and contents at $50,000.

Personnel and equipment were dispatched shortly before 1 p.m. Firefighters arrived to heavy smoke billowing out of the front of the one-story, frame house.

"We could see the smoke from the hill on Furnace (a considerable distance away)," Lee said.

Conneaut police detective Mike Sullivan and a passerby helped escort Ken Smith, the lone occupant, from the property, Lee said. Smith declined medical treatment at the scene or transport to a hospital, firefighters said. He is staying with a relative, Lee said.

Fire Capt. Tim Zee suffered a lacerated finger at the scene, Lee said.

Fire departments in Monroe and Ashtabula townships, along with nearby Springfield Township, Pa., trucked water to the scene. That stretch of Furnace Road is not serviced by municipal water lines.

Aside from icy roads, the afternoon's subfreezing temperatures did not hamper firefighters, Lee said. Crews were packed up and cleared from the scene before 3:30 p.m.