Blazes strike 2 vacant houses


Arson was cited by two battalion fire chiefs who responded to a pair of blazes miles apart in vacant houses in Toledo.

Shortly before 2 a.m., firefighters responded to an alarm at 3135 128th St., in the Point Place area, according to Battalion Fire Chief David Rodriguez. Crews were confronted by a fire that raged and threatened a neighboring home at 3139 128th. occupied by Vita Bennett. She was awakened by the mix of smoke, fire, and sirens and fled to safety. Chief Rodriguez praised the work of firefighters who played water on the Bennett residence. 

The chief estimated damage to the neighboring home at $2,000 mostly to its siding. There were no injuries. The home was built in 1917, according to information from the Lucas County Auditor's Web site.

Chief Rodriguez called for a fire investigator to examine the ruin to determine the fire's cause, "It was definitely arson from my view. It appeared to have started on the enclosed front porch.

The second blaze was in East Toledo, that one at 606 Milton St., at 3:50 a.m. Crews also were challenged to save a nearby house separated by only a few feet, Battalion Fire Chief Dennis Facer said. As was the case in the Point Place fire, the latter fire showed signs of also being set. County auditor' records show the home was built in 1911.

The house had been vacant for two years, Chief Facer said. Both houses had to be leveled by bulldozers after city inspectors determined they posed a hazard to safety.