July 1, 2016


Fire guts home in Rittman

RITTMAN — A fire at an Ohio Avenue house early Tuesday morning left its owner homeless.

Rittman volunteer firefighters responded to 82 E. Ohio Ave. six minutes after receiving the call at 3:50 a.m. and found the entire front of the home engulfed in flames.

Fire Chief Don Sweigert said homeowner Tim Colter was asleep in a second floor bedroom in the rear part of the house when he awoke to a beeping smoke alarm and opened the bedroom door to a wall of heat and smoke.

Sweigert said Colter closed the door, removed an air-conditioning unit from a back window, climbed out the window onto the roof of a first-story porch, then lowered himself down and ran off to call 911.

The chief stressed the importance of having working smoke detectors.

Sweigert said his squad put out as much of the fire as it could from the outside, and then managed to enter the structure and put out the blaze inside before it could spread to the attic. But he said the fire damage was still extensive and the home sustained heat and smoke damage throughout.

The house was a total loss, Sweigert said. He estimated the value of the house at $65,000, and the personal property destroyed at $25,000.

The cause hasn’t been determined yet, Sweigert said.

Sweigert said 37 firefighters from the Wadsworth, Chippewa Township, Orrville, Seville-Guilford and Sterling Township fire departments provided mutual aid, and the blaze was under control by 4:30 a.m.

Sweigert said the local Red Cross is providing assistance to Colter.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.