July 2, 2016

Partly cloudy

Child with lighter eyed as blaze`s cause

LORAIN — Deborah Brewer rushed feverishly with a pot full of water to put out the blaze in her apartment Monday, but she was too late.

By the time the 26-year-old made her third trip back to the sink, the fire on her 4-year-old son’s mattress had spread to the nearby outlet and wall, and she was forced to collect her two kids and run.

“Everything was in there,” she said. “The fire broke out so fast. I’m glad everyone’s out and no one’s hurt, but everything was in there.”

The fire sparked just after 3 p.m. in the Meadow Oaks apartment complex off Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain. The two-and-a-half-story building had four apartments per floor and no sprinklers.

Lorain fire officials said Brewer’s son got his hands on a lighter and somehow lit his bed on fire while playing with it in his bedroom. No one was injured in the blaze.

“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Lorain fire Lt. Steve Heider said. “We did a considerable amount of overhaul chasing the fire to the third floor, but our guys did an excellent job knocking it down fast.”

Many of the apartments suffered from smoke and water damage, but a damage estimate was unavailable Monday night.

About a dozen residents were displaced by the blaze and the Red Cross offered assistance to help them to find a place to stay for the night.

Residents, including 18-year-old Ibukun Smith, stood in the 30-degree temperatures, and shivered as they watched the smoke seep from the cracked windows of the building.

He said that when he smelled the smoke that was pouring into his ground-level apartment he did the smart thing and ran — in nothing but boxer shorts, a T-shirt and sandals.

“I was lying down and reading when I noticed the smoke,” he said. “I just ran to get out — it’s very, very cold.”

Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.