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Published: Friday, 6/22/2007

Neighbor's timely knock rouses teen in West Toledo house fire

BY MIKE SIGOV AND CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
A relieved Kerry Katafiasz celebrates with neighbor Cecil McCourt, who alerted Ms. Katafiasz's daughter to a fire. 'It was lucky that the neighbor did knock on that door,' Battalion Chief Frank Keating said. A relieved Kerry Katafiasz celebrates with neighbor Cecil McCourt, who alerted Ms. Katafiasz's daughter to a fire. 'It was lucky that the neighbor did knock on that door,' Battalion Chief Frank Keating said.
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West Toledoan Cecil McCourt was having breakfast yesterday with a visitor when his guest saw black smoke across the street.

"I rushed over there and I started knocking on the doors, though I wasn't sure if anybody was in," the 83-year-old said. "Finally, [a] girl came out."

His efforts awakened Brittany Katafiasz, 17, who escaped her mother's burning, one-story house at 2840 Trimble Rd.

The teenager was home alone when the fire was reported by Mr. McCourt shortly before 8:20 a.m.




A Toledo firefighter prepares to enter the burning home on Trimble Road yesterday morning. A Toledo firefighter prepares to enter the burning home on Trimble Road yesterday morning.
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The blaze began in a rear bedroom and did about $50,000 damage.

It was caused by an electrical overload on an extension cord, fire Investigator Michael Smith said.

Battalion Fire Chief Frank Keating said the flames spread to the bed and mattress. It was brought under control within 25 minutes and was confined to the bedroom, fire officials said.

Chief Keating said it was fortunate no one was sleeping in the bed at the time of the blaze.

Brittany Katafiasz watches as firefighters carry out their work. The fire began in a rear bedroom and was caused by an overloaded extension cord, said fire investigator Michael Smith, who estimated damage at about $50,000. The fire was brought under control within 25 minutes and was confined to the bedroom. Brittany Katafiasz watches as firefighters carry out their work. The fire began in a rear bedroom and was caused by an overloaded extension cord, said fire investigator Michael Smith, who estimated damage at about $50,000. The fire was brought under control within 25 minutes and was confined to the bedroom.
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"It was lucky that the neighbor did knock on that door," he said.


Before running out of the burning house, Brittany called her mother on the phone. Kerry Katafiasz, 37, later joined her daughter at the scene.

The Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross was notified. The agency was in contact with Ms. Katafiasz, who has two children, and she thought her insurance would take care of her family's needs, spokesman Jodie Tienvieri said.

She said Ms. Katafiasz has not contacted the Red Cross yet for any special needs it can provide.









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