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Published: Saturday, 2/13/2010

Fires destroy two homes in South Toledo


Mary Mowrey did not have the time to put on her shoes before running out of her burning home, but she did take the time to get her four dogs out safely in one of two house fires in South Toledo Friday.

The second fire destroyed an unoccupied duplex, authorities said.

Minutes after Ms. Mowrey escaped the noontime blaze with her four chow/Irish setter mixes, fire crews arrived at the fire at 1509 Western Ave. and rescued one of her three cats.

Another cat later ran up to her, but the third was missing.

"Oh, my God, my toes!" Ms. Mowrey bellowed while walking on the snow. "I can't feel my toes!"

The 44-year-old woman, tears streaming down her face, had walked barefoot to her boyfriend's mother's house on Gibbons Street, about a block away.

Once inside the Gibbons Street home, she talked about the fire.

"Me and my boyfriend, we were just done cooking and were eating upstairs when we heard the [smoke] alarm. We came downstairs, saw fire coming from the kitchen, grabbed the dogs up, and got out."

Dolly Peace, left, is comforted by passer-by Laura Schnapp at a fire at 627 Colburn St. Dolly Peace, left, is comforted by passer-by Laura Schnapp at a fire at 627 Colburn St.
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All the occupants of the two-story wood frame house, including Melvin Siders, Jr., her boyfriend; Charlie Escamilla, his nephew, and Michael VanScoder, a family friend, escaped unhurt.

The cause of the fire, brought under control about 12:30 p.m., likely was electrical, Battalion Chief Ora Pettaway said. He estimated the damage at $40,000.

The Lucas County Auditor's Web site lists Brett and Krista Scott as owners of the house, which was built in 1900.

In a separate incident, two Colburn Street dwellings were evacuated as a safety precaution Friday morning while fire crews battled a blaze at an unoccupied duplex at 627 Colburn.

There were no reports of injuries; two of the four units in structure were vacant.

Residents of the other two units weren't home. The blaze was reported about

9:50 a.m.

A passer-by alerted the neighbors to the fire.

"I was driving down Colburn when I saw smoke coming from the duplex. I drove a little closer and saw flames shooting out of its east side," said Laura Schnapp of South Avenue.

"I stopped my Jeep, got out in a panic mode, and just started pounding on [the neighbors' doors], shouting, 'C'mon, get out! Someone call 9-1-1!'•"

Fire crews arrived a few minutes later - by which time the neighbors were out - made a forced entry, and fought the blaze inside the two-story wood frame structure.

About 20 minutes into the fire, firefighters were ordered to leave the structure because it became too hot. Firefighters then doused the blaze from the outside to make sure it didn't spread to the adjacent houses, Fire Lt. Kevin Gordon said.

The fire was bought under control about noon, and neighbors were allowed to return to their dwellings.

The Lucas County Auditor's Web site lists Ramona Robinson as the owner of the 1912 house. It was scheduled for demolition later yesterday.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Contact Mike Sigov at:


or 419-724-6089.

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