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Blaze destroys EL home

Hydrant problems hampered fire fighting effort

Smoke continued to rise at the scene of this Tuesday night structure fire in the 900 block of Florence Street on Wednesday afternoon. The four-bedroom home at 915 Florence St. was a total loss, as city firefighters encountered a variety of hurdles, including one broken fire hydrant and another with very low water pressure, that forced them to call for manpower and water tankers from surrounding communities. Three other structures at 913, 916 and 925 Florence all suffered cosmetic damage. (Photo by Stephanie Ujhelyi)

EAST LIVERPOOL –A late night Tuesday fire near the city’s Sunnyside neighborhood remains under investigation, Fire Chief Bill Jones said Wednesday.

Crews initially were dispatched at 11:25 p.m. to 713 Burford St. with possible entrapment. However, instead the blaze was at 915 Florence St., where the occupants had jumped from a second floor window. One resident was transported to East Liverpool City Hospital for unknown non-life threatening injuries.

Heavy fire was spotted coming from the first floor rear of the structure. By the time the first city crew had arrived, the blaze already had spread to the second floor, Jones said. Firefighters tried two hydrants in the area, finding one to be broken and the other with low water pressure.

Jones said that command had to be called for manpower and water tankers from Calcutta, Liverpool Township, Newell and Lawrenceville fire departments. Chester and Wellsville fire departments were not called for mutual aid as neither has tankers, explained Jones.

With the tanker shuttle –as well as use of a aerial ladder pipe at 2,000 gallons per minute and landlines for firefighters –crews were able to provide a “constant flow of water” despite the hydrant issues.

The decision was made to change the fire attack from an interior offensive-style to an external defensive-style attack due to the scene becoming more dangerous for firefighters. Two city firefighters were released Wednesday morning after being treated and released from the hospital for injuries sustained during the blaze.

According to Columbiana County online property records, the four-bedroom, one-and-a-half house had been owned by Steven and Alison Dodds.

Jones reports that the home, which was valued at $64,900, was a total loss.

Crews finally cleared the scene around 5 a.m. Wednesday. He concluded by thanking those other departments as well as neighbors, who had provided them with support, including assisting them with water and the injured during the incident: “We had great community support.”

The blaze also caused “radiant heat” damage to 913, 916 and 925 Florence St. residences.

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