Some 20 firefighters from Upper Arlington, Grandview Heights and the city of Columbus responded Wednesday morning to a Clinton Township fire that displaced four people.
A faulty electrical system is the suspected cause of the blaze, which broke out around 8:30 Jan. 9 at 897 West Ninth Avenue, a single-family home in the University View area.
Crews from the Upper Arlington Fire Division, which provides service to that portion of Clinton Township, as well as firefighters from Columbus and Grandview were able to extinguish the blaze within about 10 minutes of their arrival on the scene, according to an Upper Arlington fire official.
However, the home sustained an estimated $10,000 in damages and its four college-age residents were forced to relocate to temporary housing provided by the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.
“There were four occupants of the home, but only three were home at the time,” said Dan Kochensparger, UAFD public information officer. “It made sense to find them other quarters temporarily … primarily because there was going to be that smoke smell throughout the house and because there was damage, but the biggest reason was because we had to shut off all the utilities.”
Kochensparger said Upper Arlington fire investigators determined the fire began in the exterior wall near an electrical outlet. He added the occupants reported they have experienced previous trouble with the home’s electrical system.
“(The occupants) ran downstairs and shut the breakers off before we got there,” he said. “Because they turned everything off, it’s almost impossible for us to tell for sure if it was electrical, but because there was nothing close by, that seems most likely.
“It’s speculation, but we think there were probably some breakers that were tripping.”
None of the home’s occupants or any of the firefighters who responded to the scene were injured.
Kochensparger said Wednesday’s warmer temperatures, which had thawed much of the ice which has lingered in the area in recent weeks, also made it easier to combat the blaze, and he noted the mutual-aid agreements between Upper Arlington, Grandview and Columbus helped speed both response times and fighting the fire.
“This incident was yet another instance where the mutual-aid system in our county proved its worth. The person whose house is on fire or who is experiencing a medical emergency doesn’t care what it says on the side of the fire truck; they just want help fast,” he said.