NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Feb. 5, 2022) – Firefighters spent hours in the elements Friday battling the blaze that consumed a home in the 1300 block of Lakeview Road NW and claimed the life of one of its occupants.
Fire Chief Jim Parrish says they were able to get in long enough to retrieve the victim from the burning home before the fire became so dangerous that they had to switch to defensive tactics.
“When firefighters arrived, we found out there was a person inside. Our firefighters performed search and rescue and pulled the victim out. Unfortunately, the victim did not survive. And at that point, the building flashed over.”
A caller reported the fire just after 10:30 am as crews were trying to clear the thick layer of ice and snow that had accumulated on the roads overnight. Parrish says the slick conditions didn’t delay the response, although fighting fires in extreme weather – hot or cold – is always challenging.
“It’s always manpower-intensive, and it just slows everything when you have icy conditions. Obviously, with the temperatures and flowing water everything turns into a sheet of ice, so it slows our operations down a little bit but that didn’t hamper us getting in there on the initial attack and getting the person out of there.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is trying to determine the cause and origin of the blaze. Parrish says two reserve police officers were in the area when the call came in and prevented a second occupant, who managed to escape the burning home, from going back in. They tried to get to the victim before firefighters arrived, but the smoke and heat were too intense.