July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

‘Burnouts’ in dragster leave house burned out

BRUNSWICK — A 50-year-old man is in critical condition after crashing a homemade drag-racing car into his garage Saturday night.
Steven Keltz, of 4109 St. James Drive, was doing “burnouts” — spinning and smoking the car’s back tires while staying in place — at the end of his driveway around 9:15 p.m. when the car moved forward and into his home’s attached garage, acting Fire Chief Rick Barber said.
“The car hit several propane cylinders, gas jugs and stuff like that in the garage, so we’re not sure what actually caused the fire,” Barber said.
He noted there were several possible sources for the fire in the garage — the propane, the gasoline jugs and the car’s fuel lines, which contained racing fuel.
“There was an ignition source with a significant amount of racing fuel or (other) fuel that caused a tremendous amount of fire,” he added.
Keltz, who was on fire, ran out of the garage. An off-duty state trooper tackled Keltz and rolled him in the grass to put out the flames, Barber said.
Keltz was transported to Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center by LifeFlight. He was listed in critical condition Monday, a spokeswoman said.
The fire in the 1,100-square-foot ranch house’s attached garage took firefighters 45 minutes to put out, Barber said.
Brunswick Hills Township, Medina Township, Valley City and Strongsville fire departments and the Medina Life Support Team assisted, Barber said.
“The car’s a total loss. The garage is a total loss,” he said. “The house has significant smoke and heat damage through it also.”
Barber added along with the garage, about one-fourth of the house was destroyed by the fire.
The total cost of the fire’s damage is estimated at $100,000.
Nobody else was injured during the fire, and its official cause will remain unknown, Barber said.