LORAIN — A fire destroyed a home on Dallas Avenue on the Fourth of July as firefighters battled it while contending with a high heat index and low hydrant pressure.
Lorain Assistant Fire Chief Roy Cochran said the house was engulfed when fire crews got there about 5 p.m. About 6:30 p.m., he said he did not know what would have caused the fire to spread so quickly.
Neighbor David Collins said he was getting ready to leave his house when he smelled smoke.
“But it didn’t smell like barbecue, which is something I would’ve expected today,” he said. “I went through and made sure it wasn’t our house — not our grill or anything like that — and when I was walking on the driveway side of the house I could see the smoke.”
Collins said at first, he thought it could have been related to fireworks because of people having renegade Fourth of July celebrations, but he knew his neighbors weren’t home at the time of the fire, so he ultimately didn’t think it was because of pyrotechnics.
Cochran said the department was told no one was home at 3736 Dallas Ave. when the fire started, but the structure was too hot and too far gone for firefighters to search upon arriving.
He also said crews faced two major barriers while fighting the fire — a lack of hydrant pressure and the heat index.
“When we got here we had the aerial unit and the tower truck hooked up to fire hydrants on the street,” he said. “But the hydrants on this street are poor and we were basically sucking everything dry by using both. We had to bring in the county water shuttle and the tower truck used that while the aerial unit used the hydrant, but it slowed us down.”
Cochran said when the department has a large fire like this, typically crews are rotated out, so people can get breaks and don’t get overheated — but even with four crews on scene, it wasn’t easy.
“You figure it’s 90 degrees out now and with the heat index it’s 105 or 106,” he said. “That makes things a whole lot worse for my guys. I have one guy who is getting checked out by LifeCare for potential heat stroke.”
Cochran said because the house caved in on itself, a truck from the Street Department was going to need to be brought in to move the debris in order for the Fire Department to effectively finish fighting the fire.
At 10:45 p.m., firefighters were still on scene.
According to the Lorain County Auditor’s website, the house was valued at $32,470.