By Nick Glunt and Loren Genson
MEDINA — Residents were spared, but two small dogs died in a fire that gutted an apartment and damaged three others at Nottingham Court senior community Wednesday evening.
“Are my dogs gone? Are they gone?” asked Janice Pierce, 58, who came home from the library about 6:30 p.m. to find firefighters inside her burned-out apartment, where she lived with her two Chihuahuas.
Pierce’s daughter, Sarah Baughley, 32, of Chippewa Lake, arrived shortly after and joined friends trying to comfort her mother.
Medina Fire Chief Robert Painter said the bodies of the dogs hadn’t been recovered yet.
“We haven’t found them, so much debris fell,” he said.
Painter said the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.
Nothing but ash could be seen in the apartment from the lawn outside.
The fire at the apartment complex on Nottingham Drive on the city’s north side was reported at 5:44 p.m. At least eight fire trucks and other emergency vehicles were at the scene.
In addition to the Medina Fire Department, Medina Township firefighters responded.
The blaze was put out within an hour.
Residents from nearby apartments were evacuated into a banquet room across from Pierce’s home.
The American Red Cross was asked to help find temporary housing for several residents of the damaged apartments.
There are 164 apartments in the Nottingham Court complex, according to the city directory.
Nottingham Court is one of five apartment complexes in Ohio operated by Greenberg Apartment Communities.
A phone call to the company’s Medina site was not immediately returned Wednesday night.
The company describes Nottingham Court as a “senior apartment community” for adults 55 years and older. The apartments are all at ground level and share common covered walkways.
According to the Medina County Auditor’s Office, the complex was built in 1975 and is valued at $3.47 million.
The fire was the second in less than five years to strike Nottingham Court. In May 2008, 12 residents were left without homes after an early morning fire.
More than 50 firefighters from Medina and neighboring townships responded to that fire. Damage from that fire was estimated at $750,000 and seven units were destroyed.