November 24, 2014

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Fire leaves family of 6 homeless

Home destroyed after blaze forced firefighters out twice

LORAIN — An intense fire Tuesday at a two-story home on West 22nd Street forced firefighters out of the house twice and left a single mother of five homeless.
The home’s tenant, Nicole King, who wasn’t home when the fire broke out, arrived shortly thereafter and quickly grew emotional.
“Everything we own is in that house,” King said, tears welling up in her eyes. “All my kids’ clothes are in there.”
Fire officials estimate that she lost $10,000 to $15,000 in personal property while damage to the home was estimated at $80,000, said Roy Cochran, assistant Lorain fire chief.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but fire officials know it started in a back bedroom on the bottom floor. No one was injured.
King’s mother, Cheryl Ward, was at the home with King’s five children when the fire started. A child alerted her that he smelled smoke, Ward said.
“I opened the bedroom door near the living room, flames and smoke were pouring out,” Ward said.
Firefighters battled the blaze as flames climbed up the side of the house and smoke billowed from the windows and roof. They smashed out windows and pummeled the flames with water, but their efforts were stalled when the intense heat and smoke forced them out of the house and off the roof, where they were cutting a hole to ventilate the fire.
A second stab at going inside also was called off, Cochran said.
“The flames were in the walls and in the attic,” Cochran said. “It looked like the chimney was about to fall so we decided to get everyone out to fight the fire from a defensive position.”
Firefighters were sent to the home at 4:23 p.m., and they battled it for more than two hours.
Outside, King sobbed and fell into the arms of her mother and friends.
The local chapter of the Red Cross has made arrangements for King and her family to stay at a local hotel until they can find other accommodations.
Concerned neighbors took up spots on their front lawns to watch the firefighters’ progress.
“A young girl with five kids lived here,” said Jackie Lewis, who lives in the neighborhood. “She was already struggling just to make it. Now she has nothing. Nothing.”
Contact Ben Norris at 329-7119 or bnorris@chroniclet.com.

070407firefighters.jpgCarl Sullenberger / chronicle
Lorain firefighters use their ladder nozzle to contain the fire at 618 W. 22nd St. in Lorain on Tuesday.
See video footage from the scene of the fire .