Three fire departments battled a house fire on St. Rt. 108 south of Wauseon, Monday night, Feb. 15.
A passerby spotted smoke and flames coming from the house and called in the alarm at 8:22 pm, said Rick Sluder, Wauseon Fire Department chief.
Under Fulton County firefighting protocols, Delta was automatically dispatched for mutual aid, and the Morenci, Mich., fire department was called for a Rapid Intervention Team.
Sluder said when he arrived at the scene, at 3118 St. Rt. 108, the first house on the east side of the road north of Co. Rd. C, he immediately called for help from Archbold.
The home is owned by Thomas Fenton, who lived at the residence with family members.
Sluder said a family member, a 21-year-old woman, heard noises– the crackling of the fire– coming from the walls.
She also smelled smoke.
She and another woman ran outside, saw smoke and flames in the upstairs windows, and called 911. All others in the home evacuated safely.
Sluder said when Wauseon firefighters arrived, the house was fully involved. Smoke was coming from all of the home’s eaves, and there was heavy flame on the first floor.
He said he ordered firefighters to conduct an exterior attack.
“The home was in a state of disrepair before the fire. With the load of personal belongings inside, it was unsafe to enter,” he said.
There were no fire hydrants in the area, but the Wauseon water treatment plant is on Co. Rd. C near the fire scene.
Fire tankers from Wauseon, Archbold, and Delta loaded water at the plant and trucked it to the fire scene.
St. Rt. 108 was closed for more than three hours between Co. Rds. C and D. Sluder said fire apparatus blocked one lane of traffic, and the tankers needed the other lane to keep the pumper trucks supplied.
With below-freezing temperatures, spilled water from the firefighting operations was freezing on the highway. Ohio Department of Transportation crews were called out to spread salt.
Fire crews also dragged mud onto the roadway. ODOT workers brought out equipment to scrape the mud off.
After the fire consumed the walls and attic, Sluder said an excavator was called in to raze what remains for safety reasons.
“We made a pile out of it,” he said.
No firefighters were injured in battling the blaze.
Because of the extensive damage, it is impossible to determine how the fire started.
“It will remain undetermined,” Sluder said.
The home and contents were a total loss.
The Fulton County Auditor website indicates the house was valued at $43,800. Sluder said with contents, he estimated the loss at between $55,000 and $60,000.
There was no insurance on the property, he said.