FREDERICKTOWN — A family lost its home and belongings to a fire overnight when the home at 10331 Gregg Road, north of Fredericktown, was completely destroyed by fire.
Neighbors said they were awakened by sirens just after midnight and stepped outside to find the single-story home in flames.
“The sirens woke us up and we thought it might be the police with someone on [Ohio]13,” Cheryl Taylor said as she stood with her husband, Stan, in their front yard, next door to the house fire.
According to Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast, Brandie Kalkins and her two young daughters were home asleep when the fire broke out.
Awakened by the smoke where she was sleeping in a bedroom in the back of the house, Kalkins discovered a small fire in the kitchen area, and went to get her daughters and pets out of the residence.
Dean Gerhart, a retired firefighter who lives two houses down from the Kalkins, said he saw emergency crews outside his window.
“It was a pretty good blaze,” he said. “I could see it from my bedroom window.”
“When I looked out my window it was just orange over there,” said Taylor. “It was just a ball of flames when I came out. You could feel the heat standing here.”
“It accelerated pretty quickly,” said Mast.
Assistant Chief Larry Schunke was the first to arrive on the scene, where the west end of the house was already fully involved.
Mast said he ordered mutual aid trucks and firefighters right away due to the size of the fire.
“On my way to the scene I called mutual aid out of Richland County,” he said.
Over 20 firefighters responded from Fredericktown, Troy Township in Lexington and Jefferson Township in Bellville. Additional tankers were called to haul water from a dry hydrant about a mile east of the home on Gregg Road.
Joe Kalkins was driving home from work on Ohio 13 and saw the blaze from there. He arrived to find his home destroyed but his family safe.
Firefighters attacked the home defensively with two crews outside, due to the intensity of the fire and because everyone had safely escaped. The fire was declared contained at 1:18 a.m.
Mast said the home and belongings were a total loss. No cause has yet been determined. Investigators will return to the scene later today.
The Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross was at the scene to provide drinks and snacks for the firefighters, as well as emergency assistance for the family.