Monday, January 28, 2008



Photo / Doug Nehrenz

Sheffield Lake – An elderly woman received severe burns to her feet and legs after a fire ripped through her Sheffield Lake Home Monday afternoon.

Virgil Rader said he was in his back yard when he saw smoke coming from his neighbor’s house, he alerted his wife and called 9-1-1. “By the time I got over to Betty’s house my wife and another neighbor was already there trying to get her out of the house. She was on her knees near the front door.”

Virgil’s wife, Barb, said as soon as she heard there might be a fire next door she ran out to help. “When I got outside I saw our neighbor Sue also running to Betty’s house so I went with her. We found her on her knees just inside of the house trying to crawl outside.”

Barb Rolston, the third neighbor assisting, said that once they got her out of the house she could see that her feet had been badly burned. “We started putting snow on her feet hoping that would help a little but it looked like she was so badly burned I’m not sure it made a difference.” Rolston said that once Virgil got to the house the three of them carried their neighbor to the Rader’s house and waited for the Firefighters.

With visible fire in the bedroom to the left, the living room to their right and thick black smoke rolling towards them from the ceiling, the neighbors said the thought of backing away never entered their minds. Barb Rader said that turning back was not an option. “Never thought about anything else, I mean that is your neighbor lying there, how could we not help.”

Chief Mike Conrad of the Sheffield Lake Fire Department said that the fact the neighbors where there to help the victim was very significant. “We are not sure just yet how much of the heat and flame were able to get to her in the front of the house, but had it been delayed another minute or two this could very well have been a fatality.”

Chief Conrad said they received the call at 2:08 p.m. of a house on fire at 662 Sunset Ave. “We arrived on scene at 2:12 p.m. and found smoke and flames showing at the front of the house. We had neighbors directing us to their house for a female that had been injured in the fire.”

The first four-man crew began to set up operations in front yard when there was an explosion inside of the house. “The explosion blew out windows in the front and back of the house and it was so powerful that it also blew the helmet off of the Lieutenant who was standing about 15 to 20 feet from the front of the house.”

Chief Conrad said that the victim, a 64 year old female, suffered 3rd degree burns to her lower legs and was transported by Avon Paramedics to Avon Emergency Care Center where they met Metro LifeFlight. The victim was subsequently flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland where her condition is unknown at this time.

The victim told Firefighters that she is on home oxygen and was smoking at the time the fire broke out.

Sheffield Lake Fire Department received mutual aid from Avon, Sheffield Village and Avon Lake Fire Departments. No Firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze.

To see more photos from the scene: CLICK HERE


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terry: Nice job on the Sheffield Lake explosion... your shots were great, as usual. Gigi

3:27 PM  

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