ELYRIA — The cause of a fire that began around 3:50 p.m. Tuesday and significantly damaged a two-family house at 122 Quincy St. is under investigation.
Fire Chief Rich Benton said no one was hurt in the blaze, which began in the rear of the second floor of the two-floor, wood-framed home and took about 30 minutes to contain. Fire had engulfed the entire second floor when firefighters arrived about two minutes after being called, Benton said.
The home is off East Bridge and Broad streets. Benton said a neighbor who called 911 said someone might be in the home, so firefighters tried to search the second floor but retreated from intense heat and smoke. The age of the 1,792-square-foot home – built in 1910, according to the Lorain County auditor’s website – and additions to the home delayed containment.
“It’s real cookie cutter on the back, so it wasn’t like they could get a clear shot at the main body of fire,” said Benton, who didn’t have a damage estimate. “For what they had, crews did an excellent job of getting it knocked down as quick as they did.”
Benton said fire investigators briefly spoke with second-floor tenant Jason Brewer before Brewer left. Fire Marshal Carl Keith plans a follow-up interview. Brewer was walking back and forth outside the house talking on his cellphone in a highly agitated manner a couple minutes before the fire broke out, according to neighbor Angela Lasko.
“I’m like, what is he doing?” said Lasko who lives across the street from the home. “Because it’s too soon for the mail.”
Lasko said she turned away to read an electronic book and then saw flames and smoke coming from the rear of the home.
Neighbor Bill Robinette said he saw Brewer standing outside the home after the fire began.
Robinette said Brewer shrugged his shoulders when Robinette asked if any of the first-floor tenants were in the home.
Robinette said he ran into the first floor of the home, which hadn’t caught fire at that point, to look for tenants, but they weren’t home.
First-floor tenant Dave Waldo said he lived in the home with his daughter, Brittany Waldo, and her boyfriend, Gary Breeden. Waldo, a 46-year-old former security guard who said he is receiving Social Security disability payments, said he lost all of his possessions and lacks renter’s insurance. Breeden said the American Red Cross Lorain County chapter is providing temporary housing for him and the Waldos at a local hotel.
As she stood outside her home watching firefighters extinguish the fire, tears ran down 25-year-old Brittany Waldo’s cheeks. She was comforted by property owner Joyce Weimer.
“Hey, come on, we stick together don’t we,” Weimer said as she hugged Brittany Waldo. “We’ve been through a lot.”
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.