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Early morning fire causes heavy damage

By:  Star Beacon - Margie Trax

ASHTABULA — A woman was forced from her home early Saturday morning as flames engulfed the side of her home at 155 Lakecliff Road and smoldered in the crawl space beneath her living room floor.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was the lone occupant in the house when she reported her furnace was on fire. The Ashtabula Fire Department responded and arrived to heavy smoke inside the house and flames showing through the southeast exterior wall, fire reports show.

Ashtabula Township Fire Department provided mutual aid at the scene, reports show.

The woman waited in her car as firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, running hoses through the front door to put out the interior flames, fire reports show.

During this three hour advance, firefighters found the fire had extended to the space under the living room floor. Using axes and a chainsaw, the firefighters opened up the crawl space and doused the kitchen area of the house before going over all the “hot spots” again, Firefighter Roger Harrah said.

Fire department inspectors report heavy fire damage to the crawl space and interior kitchen wall and heat and smoke damage to the first floor and attic areas, fire reports show.

The fire was under control in 30 minutes and the scene was cleared by 6 a.m., reports show.

The monetary loss to the structure and its contents has not been determined, though Harrah said the house, “is not at all livable after the fire.”

“There was a lot of damage. A lot of heat, fire, water and smoke damage,” Harrah said. “The floors and walls are all torn up,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, though early reports indicate the home’s furnace may be to blame, Harrah said.

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