December 19, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
30°F
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Lorain officer’s cruiser, truck destroyed in fire

LORAIN — A police cruiser and the personal vehicle of a Lorain police officer were destroyed in a fire Saturday afternoon when the attached garage of the officer’s home on Oak Tree Drive North went up in flames.

The cruiser and Ford pickup belonged to Officer James Wolford and were totaled in the blaze.

Wolford was home at the time but was able to escape his home unhurt before firefighters arrived.

Lorain fire Capt. Tom Baker said the call came in at 1:46 p.m. The garage was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 1:59 p.m.

But getting there was an ordeal, Baker said.

“Everything went perfectly wrong, but the guys were able to keep it from getting into the house,” he said.

First, Baker said all of the firefighters were heading to a call about a possible fire on the 1500 block of West Erie Street when the call at Wolford’s home came in. Initially, Lorain called for mutual aid from outside the city, but once it was learned that the first fire call was a false alarm, Lorain firefighters headed to Oak Tree Drive North.

But there were still problems.

“Heavy snow was falling at that time that delayed the response. The first 1,000 gallons of water from the pumper truck (were) used up pretty quickly, the nearest fire hydrant was frozen and supply lines had to be stretched down the street to another hydrant,” Baker said.

The fire initially was knocked down quickly, but firefighters stayed on the scene until 4:30 p.m. checking for hotspots inside the home. Baker said the fire was contained to the garage, but the home sustained damage to the interior.

Baker said the fire in under investigation and initial damage estimates are set to $50,000 for the structure and vehicles.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.