The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 19, 2013

Paper fire spreads to N. Kingsville home

By CARL E. FEATHER - cfeather@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

NORTH KINGSVILLE —  Jenny Howell was unsure where she would sleep. Early Thursday evening, a fire that destroyed the family’s garage also did extensive damage to the north side of the family’s log home on Poore Road.

“My room and that corner of the house are gone,” the Edgewood High School senior said as she watched firefighters toss her smoking, burning possessions from a second-story window. “My room is probably done.”

Her dress for this weekend’s military ball was not claimed by the flames, however. She said the gown was downstairs, where her mother, Renee, was making alterations to it. Jenny’s father, David, was able to rescue that dress, as well as her prom dress from the upstairs bedroom.

He was not as successful with the lawn and garden equipment in the garage. Jenny said the family lost at least two tractors, mowers and ATVs, plus tools and other “garage stuff” in the blaze that was fanned by high winds.

North Kingsville Fire Chief Brian Lehtonen said six units from his department and Ashtabula Township battled the fire, which was brought under control about 6:30 p.m. About 15 firefighters responded.

Jenny said she noticed the smoke and flames while riding her ATV near their home, which is on the south side of the CSX railroad tracks. She came back to the house and made sure her parents and brother, Joe, were safe and called 911.

David Howell said he was burning papers in an outside barrel earlier in the evening and had checked on it once to make sure nothing was blowing out.

“Next thing I knew, the grass was on fire and getting to the garage,” he said.

He manned a garden hose to keep the north side of the house cool while he waited for firefighters to arrive. Lehtonen said the first unit was on the scene in about five minutes. By then, the strong winds had pushed the flames throughout the barn-like garage.

“The wind is what caught the house on fire,” Lehtonen said.