MOUNT VERNON — According to the Mount Vernon Fire Department, a working smoke detector alerted a family to a fire in the second story of their home at 18023 Gambier Road, Thursday afternoon.
“That is what alerted the residents,” said MVFD Assistant Chief Chris Menapace. Four family members were home at the time the fire broke out according to Menapace. “The younger son heard the smoke detector and ran upstairs where he saw smoke. He then ran downstairs and told his dad what was going on.”
Menapace said the boy’s father, Steve Stopher, ran upstairs and saw flames. He then evacuated his family from the house and called 9-1-1.
The Stophers rent the home from owner Steve Molcom, who said he was at work when he received a call about the fire. Molcom arrived at the house as fire crews were working.
“When Rita (Stopher) called and said the house was on fire, I figured it was gone,” Molcom said at the scene.
Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the second story according to Menapace, who commanded the fire operations.
“Initially smoke was emitting from the second story back side of the residence,” Menapace described. “When the first engine company arrived they stretched a line back the lane toward the house. The second engine company then became water supply.”
A total of 10 fire personnel worked at the scene. Two engine companies, a medic, and both Menapace and Chief Shawn Christy responded.
Menapace said he initially called for a mutual aid engine company from the College Township Fire Department when the first fire crews to arrive reported they had a working house fire.
However, MVFD crews quickly used a single hoseline stretched up the stairway to the second floor to contain the fire, and prevent its spread.
“The guys were able to extinguish the fire with about 100 gallons of water in about a minute to a minute and a half,” said Menapace. “The guys did a wonderful job. It was tactically perfect.”
Once the fire was extinguished, the College Township engine was canceled en route. The Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to assist the family with temporary housing.
Menapace said smoke, heat and fire damage was limited to the second story. MVFD investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.