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Published: Sunday, 7/23/2006

7 flee east-side fire; authorities blame Molotov cocktail

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mike Redrup scans the remains of the house at 440 Greenwood Ave. in East Toledo. He injured his arm when he jumped out of the second-floor window to flee the early morning blaze. Mike Redrup scans the remains of the house at 440 Greenwood Ave. in East Toledo. He injured his arm when he jumped out of the second-floor window to flee the early morning blaze.
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Seven people, including a father clutching his 1-year-old daughter, crawled out of basement and second-floor windows yesterday to escape a burning East Toledo house after someone apparently threw a Molotov cocktail at the structure, authorities said.

The blaze at 440 Greenwood Ave., reported about 5 a.m., extensively damaged the large, wood-frame home. City crews demolished the rest of the house after the fire was extinguished.

The residents, Dora Campbell, who lived in the home for 11 1/2 years; her boyfriend, Mike Redrup, and other family members were left with nothing.

Mr. Redrup said everyone inside the house escaped with what they were wearing, some with no shoes.

"I'm still in shock," Mr. Redrup said with one of his arms in a sling. He injured the arm while jumping out of the second-floor window. "It's kind of surreal. Things happened too fast to be scared. I'm more confused and shocked than anything."

Ms. Campbell, a Blade newspaper carrier, said she was out making her deliveries when she got a telephone call about the fire. She said her sister, who was living at the residence at the time, had left for work at a nearby McDonald's restaurant.

"Everything I've built over the last 11 1/2 years is all gone," Ms. Campbell said. "I don't bother anybody. I have no idea who could have done this."

Mike Lewandowski, 18, a relative who was in the home, said he was on the first floor when he heard glass shatter on the front porch. A window broke as fire engulfed the front door.

"It just went up," he said. "I heard the glass shatter on the front porch, but some of it made it into the house."

Ms. Campbell's son, Michael Bryant, 23, said he was sleeping on the first floor when he heard people yelling to get out of the house. Mr. Bryant said his brother, Jake Bryant, 21, helped him up but stopped to grab his 1-year-old daughter.

"She was crying in her crib," Michael Bryant said. "I thought everyone was out of the house already. I'm glad she was crying or I would have ran right by her. It was like somebody was trying to kill us."

With fire spreading throughout the house, Michael Bryant, holding his daughter, and Jake Bryant, ran to the basement and escaped out a window there.

Fire officials estimated the damage at $40,000. Arson investigators examined the structure before it was torn down.

Officials said the fire remained under investigation.

Kristen Cajka of the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross said the agency is assisting 10 people who lived in the house with housing, food, and shelter.

Contact Clyde Hughes at: chughes@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.



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