Smoke From Fire Is Seen for Miles
A home at the intersection of Monroe Street and South Zane Highway in Martins Ferry is a complete loss after fire ripped through the structure Friday morning, causing the second story and roof to collapse and sending fuming clouds of smoke skyward that could be seen for miles.
Martins Ferry Assistant Fire Chief Mike Reese said heavy fire was coming from the front of the house when crews arrived about 8:30 a.m. The flames spread quickly, and by the time their equipment was fully prepared, the fire had moved into the second story of the structure.
Two firefighters reached the second story, but the home was enveloped in smoke. Crews on the ground shot water into the home from the front and side of the building, and firefighters in a platform bucket truck soaked the attic and the roof.
At one point, loud popping and cracking sounds came from the house. Reese said firefighters initially thought it may have been the sound of cracking wood from a section of the structure that was falling. He attributed the noise to ammunition or fireworks, however.
The man and woman who were living in the home made it out unharmed. They also had two pets inside the residence. A Martins Ferry EMT was seen carrying a cat wrapped in a blanket from the scene, but it is unknown if the dog survived.
Wheeling resident Chris Hamm had just dropped his daughter off at Martins Ferry Christian School when he said a woman came running from an alley, screaming that her dog was still in the burning house.
Hamm said he saw an older man trying to get into the house through the front door, but the door was locked.
“I busted the front glass window out of the door and yelled in to see if anyone was in there, and by then the flames were taking over the house,” Hamm said. “If anyone was in there, there was no hope. The fire was everywhere.”
Hamm sustained a small cut on his arm from the breaking glass. He said as the one house burned, the siding on the house next door was melting. He said there were three houses in a row only 5 or 6 feet apart from one another.
“I yelled and yelled, but nobody answered. The flames were really heavy upstairs and then the wires starting popping,” Hamm added.
The house immediately to the south of the burning structure sustained minimal heat damage, Reese said. That resident was out of her home when the fire broke out, but quickly arrived on scene to let firefighters inside to assess the potential danger. A pet also was removed from that home.
About 100 people gathered to watch the fire from sidewalks and the parking lot of an adjacent business. Nearby Martins Ferry Christian School was closed Friday due to a lack of water.
A state fire marshal’s representative was expected to investigate.
In addition to Martins Ferry, firefighters from Bridgeport and Sunset Heights battled the flames. Tiltonsville firefighters were on standby. Martins Ferry police also responded to the scene, as well as a Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service vehicle.