Saturday, September 23, 2017 Elyria 85°

Cops and Courts

Family escapes Avon house fire Wednesday night


AVON — Five residents narrowly escaped a fire in their home at 3659 Center Road about 10:25 p.m. Wednesday.

Resident Sheila Bodnar said she and her daughter, Amber Bodnar, were outside by a small campfire set in the backyard 20 to 30 yards from the home. Bodnar said her daughter, saying she’d return quickly, went into the house, joining her fiancé, Shawn Brown, their 3-year-old daughter, Natalie Rose Brown, and Mike Bodnar, Sheila Bodnar’s husband.

Sheila Bodnar said she wondered why her daughter hadn’t returned after a few minutes and then saw smoke coming from the top of the home. Bodnar said she went to the front of the home and saw flames coming “like crazy” from the attached garage. “Everything happened so fast,” she said.

Bodnar, 58, said her 59-year-old husband has a bad hip and got trapped in the house. Bodnar said she and her daughter screamed at him to retreat to his bedroom and exit through the first-floor window of the two-story wood-frame house. The home is about a quarter-mile south of the intersection of Kinzel Road and Wyndmere Road.

Mike Bodnar, treated at St. John Medical Center in Westlake, was conscious and alert in an ambulance before being transported about 11 p.m. Sheila Bodnar was treated at St. John for a foot injury, said police Sgt. Robert Olds.

Brown said he threw a flower pot through the bedroom window to rescue Mike Bodnar. At least two bystanders also helped rescue Bodnar, said Fire Chief Frank Root. “They did some very brave stuff,” Root said of the bystanders, who wouldn’t comment.

A tearful Brown credited his daughter for alerting him about the fire. Brown said he was in his second-floor bedroom laying in bed about to go to sleep.

He said Natalie Rose ran upstairs screaming about the fire, which Root said is believed to have started in the garage. “When I ran out with the baby, I felt the flames on the back of my head,” Brown said.

Everyone was out of the house which was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 10:29 p.m., Root said. The fire was contained about 10:45 p.m., but firefighters continued to douse hot spots at 1 a.m. today.

Root said the cause of the fire is under investigation and he is unsure if it was related to the campfire. Root said the intensity of the fire was due to the age of the 1,074-square-foot home which was built in 1938, according to the Lorain County Auditor’s website. Balloon-frame construction, which makes flames shoot up into the top of homes during fires, makes extinguishing them more difficult.

The home, which had a property value of $265,730, appeared to be a total loss. At least one car also was destroyed. Sheila Bodnar said she was unsure if the family’s four cats all escaped the fire.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 Follow him on Twitter at @egoodenowct.

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