ROGERS - Firefighters from four departments weathered single digit temperatures and strong winds Monday at a house fire on Sprucevale Road.
The Negley Volunteer Fire Department was called to the Middleton Township home not far from Clarkson Road near Rogers around 2:30 p.m. Shortly after, additional tankers and engines were requested at the scene from neighboring departments.
For more than three hours - as temperatures continued to drop - the Negley department along with firefighters from East Palestine, New Waterford and St. Clair Township, attempted to keep the blaze contained to the one-story home, although the fire was still burning two hours after the first crew arrived at 10511 Sprucevale Road.
The 1,308-square-foot home is owned by Bruce Young, according to county auditor records available online. It had five rooms, three of which were bedrooms, and was built in 1959.
The home was completely destroyed by the fire and by roughly 3:30 p.m. departments had abandoned hope of salvaging it and were working to keep it contained to the property, according to one Negley firefighter who was taking refuge from the intense cold in the heated Negley EMS ambulance that had no patients.
A small heater Negley Fire Chief Gary Banicki dropped off during a break from his job at the town's hardware store also helped firefighters keep warm and deal with freezing equipment, which halted some progress.
Negley Fire Lt. Roman Swerdan was in charge at the scene and directed all questions back to the chief, and Banicki later confirmed Young was living there but was not home when the fire broke out near the furnace.
Whether the home was insured is not known and the fire remains under investigation, he added.
The home is located off the right side of the road at the top of a hill, behind a white two-story home. A white pickup truck and an older car were also burned in the fire that caused the most damage to the portion of the home where there was a brick chimney.
Traffic on Sprucevale Road was brought to a stop while departments fought the blaze, with motorists forced to make U-turns as access to the road was completely barred by fire trucks and the ambulance.
The home's location made it difficult for the tanker trucks to park elsewhere, and firefighters were resigned to approaching the home directly into the path of the heavy smoke being carried by the wind.
An Ohio Edison crew also responded at one point.