By Ed Runyan
Louis Kawecki and his wife, Rita, were in critical condition in Cleveland MetroHealth Hospital Friday night after a Thursday night fire at their 541 N. Leavitt Road home.
Rita and two grandsons, age 3 and 6, were able to escape the home and were outside when firefighters arrived. Louis didn’t make it out and was rescued by firefighters.
The grandsons were treated at ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital and released to their parents with no injuries, said Kenneth Schick, Warren Township fire chief.
Louis E. Kawecki’s voice can be heard on a 911 call to the Warren Fire Department at 10:38 p.m. Thursday night asking for help at his home.
After giving an operator his address, Kawecki said, “My house is on fire.” His voice quickly took on another tone, and he said, “Oh my God.”
A dispatcher tried to talk to him further after that, but all that came from his voice was an inaudible sound.
When Warren firefighters left the Parkman Road fire station, they didn’t know that the fire was outside of their jurisdiction, in Warren Township, but they were advised that someone was apparently trapped inside the house.
A Warren firefighter can be heard saying his crew would proceed to the fire anyway, and they arrived at about the same time as a crew from the Warren Township Fire Department.
Lt. Shawn Peura and firefighter Jim Poptic of the Warren Fire Department entered the house through its main door and found Louis Kawecki just inside, pulling him out and onto the yard with help from a Warren Township medic.
Schick said Louis Kawecki had been in an upstairs bedroom and made it down as far as the first floor.
Crews from the Warren Fire Department’s Central Station on South Street also responded to the fire, assisting with firefighting efforts, Warren Fire Chief Ken Nussle said. The fire appeared to be contained to the first floor of the home, but Schick said a cause has not been determined. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is assisting with the investigation. The home sustained smoke and fire damage.
Firefighters from Champion and Braceville townships also assisted. The home is a short distance north of Canoe City MetroPark.