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EAST LIVERPOOL Fire kills one after failed rescue



Published: Wed, July 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The assistant fire chief said the man was afraid to get on the ladder.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

EAST LIVERPOOL -- The man killed in a rooming house blaze died despite firefighters' efforts to save him.

When firefighters arrived at 228 W. Seventh St. at about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, they found the three-story brick building engulfed in flames.

Firefighters hoisted ladders to a top-floor window of the structure and tried to persuade the victim to climb through the window so he could be brought to safety, said Bill Burns, assistant fire chief.

But the man, whose identity has yet to be released pending family notification, refused to come, Burns said.

"They were trying to get him out by a window," he said. "He was afraid of the height. He wouldn't come out to the ladder."

The man, in his mid-30s, collapsed inside the house, and flames and heat drove the firefighters back, Burns said.

The man died at the scene. His body was found near the window from which firefighters tried to rescue him.

Survivors: Firefighters used ladders to rescue two of the home's five adult male occupants, who climbed out through windows on the second and third floors.

Two men escaped on their own.

None of the men who survived the fire required hospital treatment, Burns said.

They are being assisted in finding shelter by the American Red Cross.

Two firefighters who battled the blaze were treated at East Liverpool City Hospital. One suffered smoke inhalation. The other hurt his foot.

The fire was under control by about 10 a.m. State fire marshals arrived Tuesday to sift through debris of the destroyed house, trying to determine the cause, which so far is considered unsuspicious, Burns said. Authorities are scrutinizing a first-floor area as the possible origin of the fire.

It's standard procedure to call in the marshal's office when a fatality is involved, Burns said.

A loss estimate on the building, owned by Danielle Lee of East Liverpool, has yet to be compiled, Burns said. Two neighboring houses were affected by the fire. One sustained fire damage, and the other was damaged when a wall from the burning structure fell on it.

leigh@vindy.com




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