Firefighter falls while battling Colerain Twp. fire

Published: Apr. 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2012 at 11:32 PM EDT
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A photo from our scene
A photo from our scene

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Firefighters battled a house fire early Tuesday morning.

Emergency crews from both Colerain Twp and Forest Park were called to a home in the 2500 block of Sudbury Drive around 8:20am.

According to crews on the scene, the fire began in the home's chimney and spread to the attic and roof.

A preliminary investigation says the fire may started because of a creosote build–up in the working fireplace.

While trying to vent the blaze, with a 4 x 8 hole in the roof, a part-time Forest Park firefighter fell through the structure as a portion of the roof gave way.

That fire fighter did fall a short distance but managed to catch himself between two of the homes trusses.

Other firefighters were able to get him back on the roof.

However, that incident brings back painful memories of a house fire which occurred on April 4, 2008 which left two firefighters dead.

In today's fire, Colerain Township Battalion Fire Chief Randy Ellert says Forest Park firefighters climbed onto the roof the burning home. Ellert says he knew the pair was in trouble. "We observed them on the roof...we were questioning them being up there based on the fire conditions. As we tried to get through we got six or seven busy signals and we weren't able to tell them to get off the roof  and the gentleman disappeared. It was one of those deals where we watched it and we really couldn't do anything."

Ellert says a burning roof always has the potential for danger. "Residential homes typically fail within six to ten minutes of heavy fire impingement is what we had here and based on that the roof was probably weakened and as he stepped off to the peak he fell through and then caught himself which is very fortunate."

The house sustained substantial damage, but Jason Noah, a friend of the homeowner says there are more important things. "Everybody's know all the pets and everything...just make sure everybody's out and everybody's accounted for. "

The fire was put out in about 20 minutes.  Damage to the home is estimated to be $50,000 to $60,000.

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