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The Brandywine condominium complex on Bernywyck West Road in The Brandywine condominium complex on Bernywyck West Road in Monclova Township is pictured Friday morning, following a fire Thursday evening.
The Brandywine condominium complex on Bernywyck West Road in Monclova Township is pictured Friday morning, following a fire Thursday evening.
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Published: Friday, 11/23/2012

Monclova Township condo fire not believed to be arson

BY JANE SCHMUCKER AND MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

Fire investigators believe a blaze at a Monclova Township condominium complex started on a second-floor balcony, ultimately causing the evacuation of tenants from at least two dozen units on Thanksgiving Day.

Investigators, both with the Monclova Township fire department and the state fire marshal's office, could be seen at one point today standing on a balcony at 3040 Byrnwyck West Road as they conducted their probe.

Photo gallery: Monclova Township Condo Fire

Monclova Township fire chief Kevin Bernhard said today that he didn't expect to know or release a probable cause of the blaze before Monday. It does not appear the fire was a case of arson, he said.

A damage estimate was not yet available but the chief said the amount was at least hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Kathy Connelly, 70, a resident of the Brandywine condominium complex on Byrnwyck West Road in Monclova Township, describes what happened when fire broke at the complex on Thursday evening.  Kathy Connelly, 70, a resident of the Brandywine condominium complex on Byrnwyck West Road in Monclova Township, describes what happened when fire broke at the complex on Thursday evening.
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The complex, built in 1976, is at 3040 and 3050 Byrnwyck West Road. Reports indicated all or all but one of the units are occupied. Marty Flynn, a maintenance man at the Brandywine condos, said there are more than 20 units in the building.

Marty Flynn, a maintenance man at the Brandywine condos, said there are more than 20 units in the building. Reports indicated all but one of the units are occupied.

Everyone escaped the fire, which started in the middle of the complex in an upper-level condo.

“It’s a miracle they all got out.. the majority of all those people are old, elderly people,” said Mr. Flynn. 

Sixty to 70 firefighters were at the scene Thursday night from Monclova Township, Springfield Township, Whitehouse, Toledo, Maumee, and the Air National Guard. The fire began about 7:15 p.m., and two thirds of the roof was burned off the complex.

Mark Sayers, 61, a retired salesman lives in the complex near his mother’s unit. 

“Everything important is out,” he said, of the residents who all escaped. “That’s just wood and glass and a few memories." 

Inside his unit were wedding pictures and photographs of relatives who have died.

“The dollars don’t mean anything to me,” he said.

Firefighters work to put out flames at a condominium complex Thursday, on Byrnwyck West in Monclova Township. Firefighters work to put out flames at a condominium complex Thursday, on Byrnwyck West in Monclova Township.
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The buildings’ residents congregated in a central club area, and the American Red Cross was on hand. Many residents were expected to spend the night at relative's houses.

“They’re taking it pretty hard. They were just all happy that everybody got out,” Mr. Flynn said, of the residents.

A 91-year-old resident of the building said she has lived in the building for 30 years. The Red Cross helped find her a hotel room for the night. She said she escaped the fire with “what I have on my back.”

Red Cross team leader Millie Rollins said late Thursday that the organization had arranged housing for one family.

Chief Bernhard said this is the biggest fire in the township in at least 10 years. Two aerial fire trucks doused 1,000 to 1,500 gallons of water per minute on the fire. The heavy weight of the water posed

the biggest challenge to firefighters, who feared ceilings inside the complex might collapse.

Officials said it’s possible the fire was not immediately discovered because when the first firefighters arrived they saw heavy fire through the roof.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries, but then returned back to job.



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