Saturday, October 23, 2010


Elyria – One Firefighter was taken to the hospital and ten families are out of their homes tonight after a fire swept through two apartments on Barres Lane Saturday afternoon.

Chief Ron Brlas of the Elyria Fire Department said the blaze that began just after 2 p.m. Saturday caused approximately $125.000 in damages to the structure and contents. “The fire began in apartment number 6 on the second floor in a bedroom. The fire then worked its way up the walls and into the apartment above before coming out of the roof.”

Brlas said the fire apartment was occupied by Michelle Alexander and her 9 year old son. Alexander was inside of the apartment sleeping butt told Brlas her son was outside playing. Alexander woke up to the smell of smoke and began a search for the fire. When she looked in a bedroom she found the bed on fire.

Alexander ran from the building and found her landlord outside doing routine maintenance.

Elyria Fire received the call at 2:03 p.m. and according to Brlas Tower 8 was on scene at 2:10. “There was a slight delay in getting water on the fire because Engine 1 was on a medical call in Colonial Oaks down in the south end of town. When Engine 3 arrived they started laying lines and were the first to go inside to make an attack on the fire.”

The Engine 3 crew entered the second floor attacking the blaze and then a crew from Engine 1 arrived and entered the first floor. Brlas said that in short time the fire broke through the third floor walls on the Barres Lane side of the structure and he deemed it no longer safe for his crews to be inside. An evacuation alarm was sounded by Lorain County 9-1-1 over the radios and air horns were sounded from an Engine at the scene – signaling to all Firefighters inside to get out of the structure.

Once outside a deck gun was used to help extinguish the blaze. After a few minutes a bulk of the fire was knocked down and Firefighters returned to the inside.

One of the occupants told Brlas that her bird was still inside of her apartment on the lower level. A Firefighter was able to enter the apartment and retrieve the bird in its cage and return it to the owner. Two cats were reported to be inside of the structure but Brlas said the cats were not found and is unsure if they had escaped and ran away or not.

Elyria Firefighter Lieutenant Wayne Eppley was treated at the scene after being overcome with smoke. He was transported to Elyria Memorial Hospital and later released.

Of the 12 apartments in the building all but 2 were occupied. Brlas said that the Lorain County Chapter of the American Red Cross is taking care of the 10 families that will be without a home for awhile. “Two of the apartments received major fire damage while the remaining 10 suffered severe smoke and water damage.”



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