The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 30, 2013

Vacant house burns in Ashtabula

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Heavy smoke billowing from attic vents alerted neighbors to a house fire at 1652 W. Third St. Tuesday morning, according to an Ashtabula Fire Department report.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 7:32 a.m., and Chief Ron Pristera was first on the scene, the report shows.

Fire crews arrived on the scene moments later to begin extinguishing the blaze, but access to the interior was slightly delayed because the front door was padlocked.

When firefighters entered the structure, they discovered thick, black smoke throughout the first and second floors. Firefighters went up  the stairs in an attempt to find the fire, to no avail.

Crews expanded the search to the attic and a basement and found the fire in the basement. They then extinguished the blaze, removing windows to ventilate the house and remove smoke and heat.

Concurrent with the putting out the fire, firefighters searched for any victims. No victims were found within the structure, the report said.

Fire crews remained on the scene for three hours; however, fire investigators remained on location to try to determine the cause of the fire.

Ashtabula Township Fire Department and Community Care Ambulance provided mutual aid. No injuries were reported.

The property is owned by Harbour Portfolio VII, Irmo, S.C., according to the Ashtabula County Auditor’s web site.

Basement fires are some the most hazardous and dangerous situations firefighters face, firefighters said. A few of the reasons include:

• Burning and damage to the lowest most basic structural components of a house;

• Limited entrance and exit;

• Smoke and heat rise up the stairwell that firefighters are attempting the access the fire, and

• Produce smoke conditions throughout a house that cause extremely poor or no visibility.