Munroe Falls home 'totaled' in blaze

Cuyahoga Falls firefighter suffers minor injuries battling house fire

by Jeremy Nobile | Reporter Published:

Munroe Falls -- A Cuyahoga Falls firefighter suffered a hurt shoulder after helping battle a fire that destroyed a home at the end of Hunter Avenue in Munroe Falls Jan. 14, Munroe Falls Fire Chief Lee Chafin said.

No other injuries were reported after the blaze; however, a household pet is missing.

Cuyahoga Falls Fire Chief Paul Moledor said the firefighter has since been treated and released for the minor injuries.

While the actual cause of the fire remains under investigation, Chafin said the fire appears to have started accidentally.

"We don't expect anything to be wrong," Chafin said.

He added that the house is "totaled." The house carried an appraised value of $88,230, according to Summit County property records, and Chafin said there may have been an additional $20,000 to $30,000 worth of materials inside.

Chafin said fire/medics from Stow, Tallmadge and Cuyahoga Falls provided mutual aid after the fire was reported at 3:28 a.m. last week.

He said the homeowner had gotten out of her house at 296 Hunter Ave., along with a cat and dog, when firefighters arrived. Her second cat remains unaccounted for.

Chafin said the homeowner is staying with family.

"She said her first floor smoke detector activated and she got herself out of the house immediately," Chafin said. "On our arrival, we found smoke showing from all areas of the house. In the basement, we discovered a large, deep-seated fire."

Chafin said the fire appeared to have started around a downstairs utility room that was surrounded by various sundries.

"We're looking at the area [where the fire likely started] around the hot water tank and furnace associated with the large quantity of merchandise in the basement," Chafin added.

While the bulk of the fire was under control after about 20 minutes, the fire was not fully extinguished until about 4:15 a.m., Chafin said, due to "labor-intensive" work.

"So much additional manpower is needed in these kinds of fires because you have to move a lot out in order to get to the fire and put it down," he said.

Around 10 a.m. Jan. 14, some debris continued to faintly smoke and smolder in piles of damaged material that were strewn about outside the house.

Chafin noted how two vehicles parked behind the house showed damage from the intense heat of the house fire, including rear lights that appeared to have begun melting. The cars couldn't be moved because the homeowner's keys were left in the house.

"Working smoke detectors save lives," Chafin emphasized.

No adjacent properties were damaged.

Cuyahoga Falls News-Press Editor Phil Keren contributed to this report.

Email: jnobile@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400, ext. 4179

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