JELLOWAY — An afternoon fire destroyed a large old farmhouse and left a couple and their son homeless at 21890 Ravin Road, off Ohio 3 just north of Jelloway on Monday. Owner Gary Brennstuhl was in the woods behind the house cutting wood when he saw smoke. When he got to the house, a passerby had already called the Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District.
Beverly Brennstuhl and their son, Todd, were not at home. EKCJFD Fire Chief Larry Stimpert said the alarm was received at 1:49 p.m.; when firefighters arrived, the basement and first floor were ablaze. Stimpert said the fire started in the basement, which was full of cut wood, near a wood burning stove.
The floor over the basement was already burned through when firefighters arrived, so they immediately went on the defensive to knock down the fire.
“It took quite a while to contain the fire, until 5:44 p.m.,” Stimpert said. “The house is of balloon construction and fire goes up the wall, clear to the attic.”
Firefighters then tackled the job of seeking out all of the fire in every part of the house. The departments left the scene after 9 p.m.
“We took three engines, including the ladder truck and a grass truck with 14 firefighters,” said Stimpert. “Loudonville came with a pumper and water tank truck with six men, College Township brought an engine and tanker along with five men, and Fredericktown brought an engine we used as a tank truck and grass truck.”
Stimpert said that until firefighters got set up there was not enough water on the scene, but, drawing from a dry hydrant just over two miles away on Ohio 3, the tankers were able to haul enough.
“We used 34,000 gallons of water,” he said.
One firefighter had a minor knee injury. Working in the 22 degree cold, firefighters rotated duties and rested in the warmth of the trucks. The cold temperature froze a primer on one truck and a pump on another.
The family lost everything in the fire, but the Rev. Jack Dearth, pastor of their church, the Jelloway United Methodist Church, said the family had a place to stay last night. The congregation will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to see what it can do to help the family.
Dearth said Monday evening there were already people stepping in to help.
He added that anyone wishing to help can call him at his home, 397-3359.