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Downtown EL fire still under investigation

Photo courtesy of the East Liverpool firefighters’ union The remnants of a Woodlawn Avenue residence stands in the 700 block, after being struck by fire early Sunday morning.

EAST LIVERPOOL — Sunday morning wasn’t the first time that city firefighters had responded to a fire call at a downtown city home, according to authorities.

According to East Liverpool Fire Chief Bill Jones, firefighters previously had responded tohe residence at 764Woodlawn Ave., after an issue with the chimney filled the structure with smoke. Occupants were advised not to use the chimney again until the issue was remedied.

He said Sunday afternoon that he is unsure if they had attempted to use the chimney again before crews were dispatched there around 4 a.m. Sunday. A third alarm had drew firefighters to the home, which was fully engulfed after a neighbor notified occupants of the blaze.

Fire Chief Jones said the blaze remains under investigation, although it doesn’t appear to be intentional. However, questions regarding a “construction deficiency,” which is noted on the report remain — especially due to the previous call.

There also were no smoke detectors in the four-bedroom, single-bath home, according to the incomplete report.

Aaron Stevens had acquired the property along with more than two dozen others in November 2016 for $114,700, the Columbiana County Auditor’s online property website reveals. The estimated value of the home was $25,100.

Jones verified that he didn’t contact the American Red Cross due to the absence of the occupants during the course of the investigation, so officials were unable to verify if the structure had legitimate residents with the city housing department. He concluded that he hopes to tie up those loose ends later in the week, after city hall is open and he successfully reaches the occupants and Stevens.

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