House fires displace 14 people

Two house fires within two hours kept firefighters busy overnight and displaced at least 14 people.

Bellefontaine Fire and EMS Department was called out to Tonya L. Blair’s 1229 County Road 130 rental property around 12:55 a.m. and found the rear of the two-story residence engulfed in flames.

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ABOVE: Bellefontaine Fire Chief Andy Fissel raises a ladder as firefighter Dave Chrisman holds it to reach a hot spot at 1229 County Road 130 after an early morning fire. BELOW: Private company crews work to secure a three-apartment residence at 322 E. Chillicothe Ave. after a fire there today. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | JOEL E. MAST)

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Fire spread quickly through the walls and across the roof. There was fire damage throughout the house.

By 3 a.m., other city crews were sent to a three-apartment residence in the 300 block of E. Chillicothe Ave. and found flames coming from the door of a first floor apartment.

Fire damage was limited to Lindsey Foreman’s 324 E. Chillicothe Ave. apartment with smoke damage to a vacant apartment and an upstairs apartment. Foreman was not home at the time.

Shane Simpson, who lives in the upstairs apartment, smelled smoked and called 911 to report the fire, dispatch records show.

He, his wife and three children escaped unharmed.

The third apartment was vacant.

Eight people at the C.R. 130 residence also avoided injury. However, a Richland Township firerighter was injured when a piece of shattered window glass pierced his protective gear and cut his arm.

It was a minor injury, Assistant Bellefontaine Chief T.J. Weikart said.

Also providing mutual assistance at the C.R. 130 fire were departments from Huntsville, DeGraff, Lakeview and Indian Joint Fire District.

Weikart said initial efforts to knock down the fire were hampered by the intense fire and enough water to battle the blaze.

“It (the fire) got a real good headstart on us and we had just one tanker to start with,” he said.

That tanker ran dry quick until others arrived to fill a water supply pool.

A water main near the edge of the city also broke after firefighters opened a main to provide water to the tankers. City crews were working to repair the break this morning.

Firefighters remained at the Chillicothe fire until 9 a.m., while crews were still at C.R. 130 through the morning.

Fire Chief Andy Fissel said his department was just beginning its investigations into the fires.