By Libby Rosequist
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Fuller Hose Engine 202 was dispatched to 85 Clinton St. for a structure fire reported at 11:52 a.m. Arriving first to the scene at noon, Engine 202 reported heavy smoke coming from the second floor.
The first alarm had Crescent and Fuller hose companies working with Kuhl Hose Co. as the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT).
A second alarm was sounded for back up and Harborcreek, Brookside, Greenfield and Fairfield fire departments arrived on scene and West Lake Fire Department was the second RIT.
“Staffing is always an issue during any daytime calls, Monday through Friday, especially since we are usually at our day jobs,” Chris Skrekla, first lieutenant of Fuller Hose, said.
“But we are fortunate enough to have good mutual aid agreements with neighboring communities. The biggest problem for our crews was the style of home and how the fire originated in the attic making it difficult to fight. We had to pull down the ceiling before extinguishing the fire which takes time and increases the risk to the firefighters.”
The two-story wood, multi-family dwelling is owned by Doug Bemiss. Two of the three units were occupied by renters. One of the occupants was evaluated on scene but no one was transported to the hospital.
After the bulk of the fire was knocked down around 1:56 p.m., the fire marshal was called in at 2:20 p.m. to help determine the cause of the fire.
According to Deputy Fire Marshal Jason Kidder, the cause of the fire is undetermined but the structure was deemed a total loss due to fire damage on the second floor and water damage on the first floor.
After another two hours of overhauling, the fire was officially cleared at 4:15 p.m.
The firefighters worked to completely knock out the rest of the fire and pulled the remaining ceilings to ensure the fire did not re-ignite.
“It amazes me how much a group of individuals can step up and never give up until the job is done,” Skrekla said. “My first-in crew faced really tough conditions and had an outstanding performance. Everyone involved was extremely thorough and we are thankful for that.”
There were no damages to the neighboring structures.
The displaced tenants received help from the neighbors, providing shelter and food until they were in contact with the Red Cross.