Saturday, November 18, 2017 Elyria 51°


Firefighters battles blazes in cold


Fires Sunday caused extensive damage to a workshop and apartment in Eaton Township and to a storage building in Amherst housing a motor home, authorities said.

A fire in or around a wood-burning stove probably was the cause of a fire late Sunday afternoon at a two-story workshop and apartment at the rear of a house at 36864 Butternut Ridge Road, Eaton Township Fire Chief Phillip Slack said.

Approximately 30 firefighters from Eaton, Columbia, Carlisle and Grafton townships and LaGrange battled flames and smoke at the building for more than five hours, Slack said.

Homeowner Freddy Springman had used the wood stove earlier in the morning, Slack said. No one lived in the second-floor apartment, but a cat may have been killed in the blaze, he said.

“The fire got a good start before the owner noticed it,” Slack said. “Initially we got inside but the fire was too involved — there was a lot of wood and wood products that were already burning.”

Bitter winter winds whipped smoke into a neighbor’s house, and there will be some smoke damage to clothing and belongings, Slack said.

Tanker trucks ferried water to the fire from the nearest hydrant at Butternut Ridge and Durkee roads.

In Amherst, a fire broke out in a motor home in the middle bay of a three-bay storage and work building that measures 40 feet wide and 80 feet long at 1104 Milan Ave.

The fire started inside the motor home, possibly in a heater, Assistant Amherst Fire Chief Jim Wilhelm said.

Twenty-two firefighters from Amherst fought the fire along with help from South Amherst, Elyria Township, Florence Township and Vermilion Township.

Wilhelm said the owner of the building was reportedly in Florida and had recently lost a home in Vermilion to a fire.

Amherst police interviewed the man who had been staying in the motor home, according to Wilhelm. The investigation will continue today, he said,

What’s it like to spend hours fighting a fire on such a bitter night?

Hot chocolate, coffee and cool drinks helped revive firefighters on the scene in Eaton Township and firefighters also got warm inside fire trucks before emerging to fight the fire again, Slack said.

“It was a cold winter night,” he said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or

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