Fire crews looking for a small fire in North Toledo stumbled upon a different, much larger, house fire in the 700 block of Buffalo Street on Monday morning.
The fire at a vacant house, 712 Buffalo, was reported by the crew of fire Engine 3 at about 7:30 a.m., fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said.
It's unclear what caused the fire, but neighbors said the property has been vacant for years.
The fire on Buffalo was the seventh house fire between early Saturday and Monday morning, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.
From early Saturday through Monday morning, the Toledo Fire Department responded to more than 500 incidents: "We're busier than what we're used to," Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. "We're working to the max."
The normal weekend call for service number is closer to 400 or 450. Last year, the department handled more than 54,000 calls for service.
The lieutenant said it's difficult to say whether any of the fires are related, but ongoing investigations will likely yield clues. Some of the fires, he said, could be copycats.
The first fire of the busy weekend was reported at about 12:16 a.m. Saturday at 656 Thayer St. Damage there was estimated at $10,000.
A few hours later, at 4:41 a.m. Saturday, crews were called to 1973 N. Michigan St. which was fully involved when crews arrived. About $6,400 damage to the vacant property was reported. Nearby homes and vehicles were damaged from exposure and heat, according to reports.
Later Saturday, at 8:04 p.m. crews were dispatched to 1045 Oakwood Ave. for a vacant house fire. That fire remained under investigation, although Lieutenant Hertzfeld said an arson report was filed by Toledo police. Damage was estimated at $3,000.
There were four fires Monday morning -- including the Buffalo Street fire -- all within a few hours.
The first was reported at 1:41 a.m., a vacant house at 1907 Nelson Ave. Damage there was estimated at $15,000.
Just a little more than an hour later, at 2:55 a.m., a fire was reported at 1947 N. Superior St. Two people were inside the home when the first-floor bedroom fire started, but both occupants escaped without injury. Damage was estimated at $16,000.
At 3:45 a.m., crews were sent to a vacant house fire at 3601 Stickney Ave. in North Toledo. A damage estimate was not available.
All the fires remained under investigation Monday.
-- Taylor Dungjen