Two firefighters were injured at the scene of a stubborn five-alarm fire early Sunday in Dover Township that gutted a century-old house, causing the residents to flee.
Wauseon Fire Chief Rick Sluder reported that city fire crews and crews from the Delta, Morenci, Mich., Archbold, and Lyons fire departments were called to a blaze at 13211 County Road J at 1:05 a.m. Upon arrival, firefighters found rapidly growing flames on the first floor of the two-story residence built circa 1900.
The fire was brought under control within 20 minutes, but fire crews were dispatched back to the scene at 1:01 p.m. after smoke was seen exiting walls on the first floor. They determined that fire remained deep inside the walls and had traveled to the attic, where it remained trapped.
After battling the reignited flames for several hours, Sluder and on-site insurance representatives agreed to summon a demolition crew to raze the structure, which sustained extensive fire and smoke damage.
The residents had been asleep on the second floor when smoke detectors were activated. The family, which included two-year-old and seven-month-old children, escaped the residence unharmed after discovering fire climbing a wall behind a Christmas tree in the living room. The family’s Rottweiler dogs also made it to safety.
One firefighter sustained a shoulder sprain during the initial attack on the first call, and another firefighter suffered injuries to the wrist and ankle during a fall from a ladder deployed to the second story. Both firefighters were treated and released from the hospital.
The Wauseon Fire Department was also assisted at the scene by the Ohio Department of Transportation which cleared snow and ice from roadways.
The cause of this fire is undetermined at this time and under investigation by the insurance company.