July 24, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Flames shoot into air at Brunswick Hills Twp. home

A Brunswick Hills Township family lost a big part of their home to a fire Thursday afternoon. But all four family members and their pets — two dogs and a guinea pig — escaped unharmed after a blaze that began in the attached garage quickly spread to the second-floor bedrooms of the home.

Brunswick Assistant Fire Chief Rick Barber said the fire started in the garage where homeowner Greg Blasco was doing work on a car. He said once the fire escalated quickly.

Fire crews work to extinguish a fire at 4970 Grafton Road on Thursday afternoon. Four cars, a garage and part of a home were damaged. Fire officials believe the fire started in the garage where the homeowner was working on a car. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

“When we got here, there were flames shooting about 30 feet into the air,” Barber said.

Brunswick and Brunswick Hills firefighters got support from firefighters from Strongsville and Hinckley, Liverpool and Medina townships in battling the blaze.

Barber said the extra support meant more of the split-level house was saved. Though the bedrooms were above the garage and suffered heavy damage, the rest of the home suffered less.

“It’s nice when you can have so many departments show up; it really makes a difference in what was saved,” he said.

Blasco and his wife, Capri, lost four cars in the fire, including a 1980 Camaro and a Monte Carlo SS. Neighbors said Greg made a hobby out of fixing and maintaining older, sporty cars.

Barber estimated vehicle losses at around $100,000. He said damage to the home was about $200,000 and other property losses were probably around $200,000.

“You’re looking at losses of about a half-million,” he said.

Barber said the family has homeowner’s insurance.

Family members were not available to be interviewed.

While many neighbors stood on the sidewalk and watched firefighters work, some were also there to offer support for the family.

Robyn Watson, who lost her home in a fire on Boston Road in Liverpool Township in April, was down the street on Grafton Road when she saw the smoke.

“I came by to offer support because we’ve been there,” Watson said.

Watson, husband Brad, and their children were on vacation when their farmhouse originally built in 1928 caught fire on April 4.

“There really aren’t any words to say, it’s just really hard,” she said. “At least things can be replaced, people can’t.”

Watson said the biggest help for her family were friends and neighbors who donated gift cards for stores and restaurants. She recommended gift card donations for anyone who might want to help the Blasco family.

“The restaurants helped us eat while we were at a hotel,” she said. “After that the gift cards helped buy groceries and other things we needed after we got settled in our rental home.”

Watson and her family are rebuilding on the site of their old home and construction is set to begin soon. She said her heart goes out to the Blascos.
“It’s devastating but you do move on,” she said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.