24-unit northwest Toledo apartment building destroyed by fire

4/12/2014
BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The remains of an apartment building  located at 4902 Secor that sustained fire damage.
The remains of an apartment building located at 4902 Secor that sustained fire damage.

No one was known to be injured, but a 24-unit northwest Toledo apartment building was destroyed early today by an intense fire that forced firefighters to abandon an interior search. 

The total loss from destruction of the building at 4902 Secor Rd. was estimated at $750,000, said Toledo fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld, a department spokesman.

The structure was already fully involved when firefighters arrived following a 4:51 a.m. 911 call, the lieutenant said. Response may have been delayed because someone at the building tried first to put out the flames before calling, he said.

“It was a deep-seated fire,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said, noting the blaze was so dangerous firefighters had to pull back from the building. “We had to wait to go back in.”

After the third floor collapsed, firefighters had to “go on the defensive” and abandon search and rescue efforts, he said. The search for any victims resumed when daylight arrived. 

The American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio spent the day helping 21 families, including 30 adults and 16 children, find temporary housing, clothing, baby supplies, and medical prescriptions, said Amanda Aldrich, the organization's spokesman.

The remains of an apartment building  located at 4902 Secor that sustained fire damage.
The remains of an apartment building located at 4902 Secor that sustained fire damage.

Some residents remained unaccounted for hours later, but they may have been out of town or have found other shelter, Ms. Aldrich said.

Red Cross volunteers arrived at the scene at 6:30 a.m. to offer comfort and encouragement and answer questions, she said. In coming weeks, the agency will help displaced tenants find new homes and provide them with replacement linens and other basic needs.

“Sometimes in these situations people have literally lost everything,” Ms. Aldrich said. “One man I was talking with told me that his mother had died three weeks ago. He was keeping the family heirlooms in the living room until he could give them to his sister.

"He didn’t have any insurance," she said. "We don’t expect things like this to happen.”