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5 escape South Side Youngstown fire

Fire captain says it is too early to say if cause is suspicious

YOUNGSTOWN — Sometimes when a person survives a fire or other disaster, they will lament that they were left with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

For three adults lucky enough to escape from their home on East Avondale Avenue a little before 4 a.m. Monday — thanks to a neighbor yelling — there wasn’t even time for clothes.

Youngstown Fire Department Capt. Dave Cook said when firefighters arrived at 3:48 a.m. at 164 E. Avondale, they found the three adults who had escaped outside of the home — without clothes.

It was cold and it was raining, Cook noted. The two children with them, both under age 1, were clothed, Cook said. Firefighters sheltered all five in the back of a firetruck until they were able to obtain clothes, Cook said.

No one was injured.

Cook said a neighbor across the street hollered into the Cape Cod-style home after seeing the fire, alerting the residents, who were apparently asleep. The neighbor also called 911.

The American Red Cross later provided other assistance.

Cook said it’s too early to say whether the cause is suspicious.

The fire appears to have started on the front porch, Cook said. From there, it appears to have gone into the house through voids in the ceiling and into the second floor.

The house has heavy smoke damage. It also has fire damage to the exterior and “some” fire damage to the interior, Cook said.

A possibly similar fire took place several blocks away on Avondale in September.

A house in the 500 block of East Avondale Avenue was set on fire then by a male who threw a Molotov cocktail and a rock at the front of the house.

The act was captured on home surveillance video. Youngstown fire investigator Kurt Wright provided news reporters with the video about a week after the fire in hopes that someone from the public would recognized the perpetrator.

The video shows a man wearing a baseball cap throwing a large object through a front window and then lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it toward the window at about 5 a.m.

A fire report states a rock about six inches around was found inside the broken front window, and the home experienced a small amount of fire damage on the front porch. Two people were home at the time but they got out without injury.

Firefighters could smell an accelerant in the area where the blaze occurred. It caused an estimated $2,500 in damage.

So far, Wright has not indicated whether he has any leads on that fire. He could not be reached Monday to ask for more details on Monday’s fire.

erunyan@tribtoday.com

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