Homes lost, firefighters injured during huge Monclova Twp. blaze

MONCLOVA TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) – The Monclova Township fire chief says several firefighters were hurt battling a huge condo fire Thursday night into Friday morning. Dozens of residents are left not only without belongings, but without a home.

The fire chief did not give details of exactly how many firefighters were injured. He said it happened when a ceiling caved in while battling the blaze. They were taken to the hospital and have already been released. However, the chief says they'll be off work for a while. Four departments, including 60 firefighters, were involved in battling the blaze.

Flames broke out around 7:15 p.m. on Byrnwyck West near Salisbury Road in Monclova Township.

All residents were able to escape safely. A shelter was set up at Brandywine Country Club with the Red Cross for the displaced condo residents.

The fire chief says about 70 percent of the building is a loss. There were 28 units and 24 have been affected. One wing of the building was saved. The chief says the second floor is gone.

Residents say the only things they were able to leave with were the clothes on their back. Many lost everything. State Rep. Barbara Sears was also a resident of the condos but was not home at the time of the fire.

"I was sick to my stomach. I was devastated, obviously. Everything I own is up there...everything," said resident Robert Sheline.

Sheline is just one of the dozens of residents who lost everything.

"Since 1975 I've lived here. I was the second person in the building," said Sheline.

Sheline, like many others, was not home at the time of the fire. Phone calls notified residents of the destruction.

"[I was] having Thanksgiving dinner and a friend of mine called and said, 'Your condo is on fire,'" sid Sheline.

Jon Houck came back in the daylight to survey the damage for his grandmother.

"Devastated. She's been here since probably it opened, since they built the place, you know, 30 some years. And everything she had is gone," said Houck.

Firefighters battled the fire for hours. The Monclova Township fire chief says the fire is not suspicious, but is believed to have started on a second floor balcony.

"It's heartbreaking. It's just absolutely heartbreaking. And so many of these people were older, you know, and had memories and pictures and things. What do they do? What do they do?" said Sally Nemeth, a nearby resident.

All residents did get out safe and to some, that is what is most important.

"I'm going to try to get the things I need to live for a while and find a place to live. What else is there to do?" said Sheline. "Material things can be replaced, but life cannot be. So the important thing is that everyone got out."

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