Sunday, July 26, 2009


Elyria – As fire ripped through a back bedroom at 208 Brandston Street neighbors worked to do what they could to help a woman that was trapped inside of the home.

Mike Grisez lives just down the street from 208 and was heading home from a day of golfing when he saw the smoke. “I parked next door and ran to the house to see if I could help – there were already some neighbors at the back of the house with hoses spraying around the back window.”

Irene Kalkbrenner lives right next door to 208 and said she heard her neighbors yelling for someone to call 9-1-1. “I went outside and saw the smoke and you can see that the back room was on fire so I started getting the hoses out and we started shooting water on the house.”

Grisez said there was a brief disagreement about breaking the window out or not. “Some of the people there said that we shouldn’t but with there being a woman trapped inside I just felt that it was best to open it up.”

They did break the window and began putting water into the back room with two small garden hoses – the neighbors admitted that it probably didn’t help, and Grisez even cut his hand on broken glass, but they say when a neighbor is in need of help – you do everything you can.

Captain Joseph Pronesti of the Elyria Fire Department said that when his crews arrived on scene smoke was coming from all around the home. “While we were responding I was advised that we had people trapped inside of the home – we immediately laid a line to attack the fire and I had a crew begin a search. While they were doing that I had a neighbor come up and say that there could be as many as two more people trapped inside.”

During the search Firefighters found 50 year old Nancy Dohanos in the rear of the house. Firefighters pulled Dohanos from the home and turned her over to Paramedics from LifeCare Ambulance.

Herb de la Porte, Vice President of LifeCare Ambulance, was on scene supervising his crews during the rescue. “The victim that was pulled from the house is in critical condition. She was taken to Elyria Memorial and has already been flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.”
Dohanos’ husband and son were also treated by LifeCare Paramedics on the scene then transported to Elyria Memorial with minor burns and smoke inhalation – injuries they received while trying to rescue Dohanos.

Grisez and Kalkbrenner both praised the work of Firefighters and Paramedics on their speed and professionalism. “It was amazing watching them work, here we were with this little hose standing outside and they got here right away – went in and blasted the fire with their hoses and put it out” said Grisez. “We watched as they pulled her out and the Medics started working on her – it was all just very sad to see I hope she will pull through.”

Pronesti spoke about the neighbors pulling together and working to save the woman and breaking out the window. “It’s always hard to say no, don’t do it when there’s a life at stake. I will say that sometimes it adversely affects the fire – it will allow it to grow. But it’s always a life and death situation, I’m never going to fault anybody but also we don’t anybody putting themselves in harms way. The more people in harms way, the tougher it is for us, especially when we’re understaffed, the tougher it is for us to rescue them.”

Pronesti said that Firefighters were able to knock the fire down in about 10 minutes.

Mutual Aid was provided to Elyria by Sheffield Village with a Truck and their Chief and Avon with a Pumper.

Investigators from the Elyria Fire Department as well as from the State Fire Marshall’s Office were on scene conducting their investigation into what started the blaze.

Today, July 26, 2009, is Nancy Dohanos’s 50th birthday.


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