City firefighters battle East End structure fire

Heavy smoke surrounds a house on Pennsylvania Avenue in East Liverpool as firefighters battle a blaze inside the rental structure. (Photo by Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert)

EAST LIVERPOOL — A city firefighter escaped injury after he fell through a roof Monday night while battling a blaze in an East End rental home, but another firefighter was injured while trying to help him.

The department responded at 10:40 p.m. with three men on duty to a report of a fully involved structure fire at 1642 Pennsylvania Avenue, where they found fire coming out of an upper floor wall.

As one firefighter made an attack on the wall from outside, two others made entry to the interior of the vacant home, having to force open both doors to enter.

A third alarm brought other firefighters to the scene, where they found smoke on the first floor and fire on the upper floor, fighting the blaze from both outside and inside.

While on the roof, attempting to ventilate it, firefighter Alex Estell suddenly started to fall through the roof, where flames began shooting into the air through the ventilation hole.

Using an ax, Estell plunged it into the wall to stop his fall, holding onto it with one hand to suspend himself as assistant Chief David Edgell and firefighter Tim Gantz tried to pull him back up onto the roof, but his arm kept slipping from their grip, and Estell fell to the floor of the room below, landing on his feet.

He was uninjured, and, although Edgell suffered a neck injury while trying to pull Estell to safety, he continued battling the blaze.

Firefighters received assistance at the scene from city police, who blocked traffic and kept bystanders at bay.

They were on the scene until 1:37 a.m.

The cause was undetermined as of Tuesday afternoon, and it was not immediately clear if the home was insured. The owner is James Adams of East Liverpool.

On Tuesday afternoon, firefighters responded to the parking lot of East Liverpool City Hospital, 425 W. Fifth Street for a vehicle fire.

They had to break the passenger and driver’s side windows of the 2004 Mazda to gain entry and reach the fire in the rear passenger seat.

The fire burned into the foam cushion and burned contents, including a coat and towel, with fire damage contained to the seat, with smoke damage throughout.

The cause of the fire is undetermined. The vehicle is owned by Dawn Wright, New Brighton, Pa., and is insured, according to fire reports.