Bellefontaine Examiner

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Fire displaces families

Damage estimated at $32,000


A family was displaced from their residence at 300 Shady Lane Drive after a kitchen fire broke about 11 p.m. Saturday and caused about $32,000 in damage. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)

A woman and her two children escaped unharmed from a fire late Saturday.

Jennifer Johnson, 300 Shady Lane, told firefighters of the Bellefontaine Fire Department she fell asleep after she started heating a pan with oil for French fries.

She awoke around 11 p.m. to smoke in her apartment and found the oil ignited in the pan. Fire spread from the pan, up the wall and into cabinetry, firefighters report.

Fire Chief J.P. Schulz said the fire burned through the exterior wall of the kitchen and into the attic and the roof.

Flames were visible outside upon firefighters arriving, he said.

Ms. Johnson got out with two of her children in the apartment at the time. Her two other children were visiting with relatives, the chief said.

All were provided with assistance from the Mad River Chapter of the American Red Cross as were Billie Holtzberger and her three adult children who live at 302 Shady Lane.

Water from firefighters’ efforts to address the attic and roof fire leaked through a light fixture into their apartment.

Chief Schulz said electrical service was shut down to the apartment to allow for an inspection of the light fixture.

All off-duty personnel were called into assist and Tri-Valley Fire Department responded with an engine and crew.

Officers of the Bellefontaine Police Department also responded as the fire was discovered and assisted by making sure every resident in the complex was out of their apartments.

Chief Schulz noted around 40 percent of residential fires start in the kitchen.

Damage was estimated at $32,000. The building is owned by Jim Everson, according to fire reports.

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