Thursday, February 21, 2008


Elyria – Elyria Fire Investigators together with members of the State Fire Marshals Office spent the day at 363 17th Street trying to determine the cause of the blaze that claimed the life of Carlton Glass.

Assistant Chief Robert Dempsey of the Elyria Fire Department sat down with TMC NEWS just after getting returning from the scene Wednesday afternoon. Chief Dempsey said that although their focus is toward the back of the home, they have not yet determined the cause and it could be a couple more days before they do have one. Dempsey said that they have just finished gathering all of the evidence and information and now just have to digest it and try to figure it all out.

With the adverse weather conditions on the night of the fire, we wanted to know how much of a role it played, more specifically did the strong winds progress the fire. “When the first crews arrived they reported that the house was extremely, heavily involved in fire already. So once that happened and the windows blew out – the short answer is yes it did help fan the flames but the house was already fully involved so it’s kind of a moot point because the fire did not spread to the neighboring residence it was contained to that one structure. I’d say the biggest weather factor would have been the cold, the temperature was very difficult to work in last night.”

Chief Dempsey said Firefighters received creditable information that there was a person still inside the home so command sent a team in for a search. We asked what all is involved in such a high-risk operation. “First you make sure you have a water supply established. Once they are assured they have a continuous water supply to them it’s a matter of going into the structure fighting back the fire as much as you can and doing a search. That is exactly what happened, they fought the fire from a couple different angles to try and make some type of entryway into the structure. They found the victim in the front living room area of the structure and then got him outside. It flashed over right after they got him out.”

Chief Dempsey said that the search team that entered the home, although they had a hose and water supply, their intention was not to knock down the fire, rather create a path for the Firefighters to safely search for the victim. “You want to knock down as much fire as you can, but with the amount of fire they had when they first got there it was more a matter of protecting themselves. So the purpose of those attack lines was to facilitate a rescue. Initial reports were that the victim was in a back room, those reports turned out to not be accurate when in fact he was found in the front.”

As the search for a cause continues Dempsey said that part of the investigation technique is process of elimination. One of the first things he looks at is weather, such as lightening strikes. The next is utilities, such as electrical problems. Although Dempsey said he hopes to have answers soon, he said that it is entirely possible that this one could end up in the “undetermined” file.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that the EFD can determine the cause of the fire and Mrs. Glass and her family can receive some measure of closure at the loss of Mr. Glass. Patsy

2:28 PM  

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