Train on tracks delays firefighting response

Staff report


The Lordstown fire chief says a 5:04 a.m. Monday house fire at 2328 Salt Springs Road turned out to be harder to fight than it should have been.

No one was injured because no one was at home, but a train that occupied the crossing at Salt Springs Road west of state Route 45 for 40 minutes prevented more than one firetruck from crossing the tracks, Lordstown Fire Chief Travis Eastham said.

The first truck to leave the fire station, which is near the Salt Springs Road-Route 45 intersection, made it across the tracks, but the train held up other vehicles, which had to travel around, costing an extra 10 to 12 minutes, Eastham said.

“We’ve had quite a bit of problems,” Eastham said of the trains blocking the crossing.

Eastham said he has spoken with a federal rail official about the problem in the past, but previous communications have not resolved the problem.

The first truck battled the blaze alone for 10 to 12 minutes before additional personnel arrived after traveling around the blocked crossing.

The fire caused an undetermined amount of damage to the front half of the one-story home. The occupant was out of town at the time.

Eastham said the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting an investigation into the cause, but the fire’s origin appears to be accidental.

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