LORAIN – A long-vacant home on East 33rd Street was destroyed by fire Friday, and investigators say arson is to blame.
The 840-square-foot house at 1628 E. 33rd St. caught fire around 12:29 p.m. and was under control by 3:01 p.m. said Assistant Chief Gary Burls.
Witness interviews, the vacancy of the two-story house and the fact that gas and electrical services were shut off led the fire marshal to say the blaze’s cause was arson, Burls said.
“The building had been slated for demo anyway because it had been vacant for quite some time,” Burls said, adding that he couldn’t get permission Friday to knock the building down because he couldn’t reach the city officials who make that call.
The building was checked to make sure no one had been trapped inside when the fire broke out, Burls said. Public records have the house’s value listed at about $36,000.
What started the fire in which part of the house is still under investigation, Burls said. A tree in front of the two-story house was cut down to allow for aerial operations by the Fire Department.
Firefighters also had to run fire hoses to the corner of the block where the fire hydrants for that block were located.
Capt. Tom Sultzer said that set-up is uncommon in Lorain but should not cause a safety issue for residents on those blocks.
“The hydrant system in Lorain is no more than 500 feet apart from hydrant to hydrant,” Sultzer said. “If (a burning house) was occupied, the first pumper in would go right to the fire.”
The city’s four pumper trucks each carry 1,000 gallons of water. There wouldn’t be a rescue delay while firefighters ran line to distant hydrants.
“We’re probably not going to worry right off about the water supply because we carry 1,000 gallons,” he said. “So we’d go right for the rescue.”
The department also has 1,000 feet of 5-inch hose.
“We can just about lay a portable water main right off the back of a truck,” Sultzer said.
The house will be boarded up during the holiday weekend until officials can continue their investigation next week.
Meanwhile, Burls said a fire later Friday caused $7,000 damage to a garage and $15,000 to the contents of the garage at 228 Lake Place.
The fire was reported at 3:17 p.m. The owner was trying to start a 1996 Chevrolet S-10 pickup and it backfired, causing an engine fire that ignited other contents in the garage, Burls said.
Staff writer Cindy Leise also contributed to this report.
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.