EAST LIVERPOOL -The cause of a fire which destroyed a multi-family dwelling Monday night on St. Clair Avenue was undetermined Tuesday, with the city fire department investigating.
A man came into Central Station just minutes before 8 p.m. to report he had driven past the structure and saw it was on fire.
A third alarm was sounded before firefighters on duty left the station.
Smoke rises from what’s left of a St. Clair Avenue duplex that was destroyed by fire Monday night. East Liverpool firefighters’ efforts encased the structure in ice because of below-zero temperatures during the fire. The house, located at 1004-1006 St. Clair Ave., was considered a total loss. (Photo by Stephen Huba)
Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire and smoke coming from the lower level of the structure and tried to make entry to the second floor but discovered it had already burned out, making an interior attack on the blaze impossible.
The fire appears to have started in the lower level, although the origin was not known as of Tuesday.
With temperatures at frigid levels, ice from fire hoses was so bad several firefighters fell and received minor injuries, according to acting Assistant Chief Jason Glista.
The street department had to be called to salt the area. The battle continued after firefighters cleared the scene at 2:05 a.m. when they had to thaw out frozen trucks and equipment at the station.
No one was inside the building when firefighters arrived, and Glista said Tuesday it was unclear if anyone has been living in the structure, which is owned by Marsha Delgotti.
Gas service had been shut off to the structure but electric service was still connected.
"No one was there. There was some furniture inside, but we're not sure if it is occupied," Glista said, adding it is still unknown whether the structure is insured.
Reports indicated the estimated loss was $50,000.
The fire initially was thought to be in the outlying township, Liverpool Township Fire Department did not provide mutual aid as initially reported.