Residents flee blaze that destroys Clarkson home

CLARKSON – County fire investigators were called on to determine what caused a Middleton Township home to catch fire early Wednesday.

Negley Fire Chief Gary Banicki said the home at 47167 Pancake-Clarkson Road was fully involved when the department arrived shortly after 2:30 a.m.

The home is owned by Burrell Reeder, also of Pancake-Clarkson Road, but was being rented by two men. Banicki identified one of the men as William Lucas, but was not sure of the identity of the other man. Both of them and a dog escaped the two-story home after it caught fire and were not injured, he said.

He also said the home was insured but believed the contents owned by the renters were not.

It took firefighters from Negley, New Waterford and East Palestine, plus crews from the Calcutta and Glenmoor departments, about an hour to get the fire under control, he added.

“The place was just a ball of fire when we pulled up,” he said.

The three local fire departments often respond to fires together and the Calcutta and Glenmoor departments were requested to provide mutual aid.

Banicki said one problem posed by the fire was that it caused a utility line extending from the home to a pole across the road to break loose and fall across the road.

He was unsure whether the utility line was live and didn’t want to drive a tanker truck over it, he explained.

Ohio Edison was notified of the downed line and had it removed. Until their arrival firefighters used different routes to get around the line, he said.

Firefighters were on scene until just after 6:30 a.m. and county fire investigators should have a ruling on the cause by the end of this week, he said.