The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 9, 2012

Fire guts Ashtabula apartment

Firefighters contain inferno to one Glover Drive residence

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Firefighters are looking for the cause of a fire that sent smoke billowing into the air from an apartment at 3228 Glover Drive late Saturday afternoon.

“When I came down Griswold I saw a big wall of smoke,” said Lt. Rodney Blaney of the Ashtabula Police Department. The fire was in an Ashtabula Metropolitan Housing Authority apartment located on the far south side of the property.

A neighbor woman, who asked not to be identified, said she did not hear anything and was unaware of the fire until someone came by to warn people of the blaze.

“Somebody just came running through (the area) yelling ‘get out there is a fire’,” the woman said. She said they got their kids out and took them to a neighbor’s home.

A dozen firefighters from Ashtabula battled the blaze as dozens of people gathered in the area to watch the event unfold.

Ron Pristera, Ashtabula fire chief, said it was way to soon to tell the cause of the fire. He said the investigation would begin late Saturday night.

Pristera said there was a lot of fire, but it was contained to one apartment. He said there was mutual aid help from Ashtabula Township and Community Care Ambulance also was on the scene.

There was apparently nobody home at the time of the fire, Pristera said.

AMHA director Jim Noyes came to the scene to evaluate the situation. “My maintenance manager called and I came down to see how bad it was,” he said.

“I talked to a neighbor who said he broke out a window to see if anyone was inside. At least people were looking out for each other. This is just too bad,” Noyes said.

Firefighters attacked the fire from the inside out and eventually the roof. Pristera said there was a lot of fire.

Neighbors filmed the remnants of the apartment with cell phone cameras as firefighters ventilated the structure with large fans.

Firefighters then re-entered the structure to knock down “hot spots.” They also cut a hole in the roof of the apartment to ventilate the structure at which time smoke alarms could be heard.

The neighbor said she had not heard smoke alarms when the blaze ignited.