EAST LIVERPOOL-A city firefighter is recovering at home this week after suffering burns while battling a downtown fire last weekend.
According to Bobby Smith, the fire department's union chief, firefighter Jim Allmon received second- degree burns on his neck when the eaves of the West Fourth Street house collapsed on top of him. According to Smith, despite the incident, Allmon is expected to be back on duty some time next week.
Two houses sustained heavy damage as a result of the fire on the morning of Aug. 17 near the intersection West Fourth Street and Persimmon Alley.
The two-man crew on duty - Allmon and Tim Walker - arrived at 325 West Fourth St. at 7:15 a.m. to find the property ablaze, and the rear of the former home already collapsed. The department put out a call to Liverpool Township volunteers for assistance.
"We have been begging the city for years to have enough firefighters on duty that we can have two fire engines on scene instead of one," said Smith, citing the city's understaffing of the department that led to the call for assistance in battling the blaze.
The home was vacant at the time of the fire, having belonged to an area bank before being turned back over to its original owners due to its lack of value. The property is being considered a total loss, according to Smith. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however, Smith said the department suspects the fire may have been set intentionally.
The home at 329 West Fourth St., which is next door, also caught fire and sustained damage when flames jumped onto its upper story. The home's attic was heavily damaged by fire while the rest of the home sustained smoke and water damage. The home belongs to the Walker's father. The Walker home was insured and the family plans to repair the house, according to Smith.