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Authorities have identified the 5-year-old girl who died early today after Toledo firefighters pulled her from a burning home on the city's west side.
Olivia Cline, who was found in a second-floor bedroom, was pronounced dead at 2:01 a.m. at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, Steve Kahle, a Lucas County coroner's investigator, said. An autopsy is scheduled for today. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
A woman who was taking belongings out of the house and putting them in a van refused comment. Sean Driscoll, 49, a neighbor, said the victim’s family was new to the neighborhood and he did not know their names.
The fire at 6032 Van Wormer Dr. was reported at 12:58 a.m., said fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld. Firefighters from Station 18 were the first on scene and reported heavy fire at the back of the home. Two adults, believed to be the girl's parents, were outside and told firefighters that the young girl was still inside.
Mr. Driscoll said the fire woke him up about 1 a.m., at which time he stepped outside and saw the light of the fire in the woman’s backyard.
“Then firefighters arrived and put it out within five or 10 minutes,” he said. “I saw several firefighters get on the roof and cut it out. Then I heard them break out a window and saw them carry out a body wrapped in a blanket, put it on a gurney, and rush it to an ambulance.”
The first on scene used a strategy dubbed VEIS – vent, enter, isolate, search – to locate the girl. Firefighters – without a hose – climbed through a window and shut the bedroom door which “buys them time” and keeps conditions in that room – which was “extremely, extremely smokey” – from deteriorating, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.
After several minutes inside, and with firefighters from Station 23 on scene battling the fire from outside, crews inside located the little girl and took her to Toledo Hospital.
“It was very, very challenging to try and effect a rescue,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. He said that there was “zero visibility” inside the home.
“These fires like that, these are the ones that haunt ya,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. “One o'clock in the morning and a house is rolling like this and there are family members outside saying 'There's still a loved one inside.' Those are the ones that stay with you.”
It was not known how many people were inside the house or who made the 911 call. No other injuries were reported.
Mr. Driscoll, who at age 10 or 11 lost a cousin to a house fire in North Toledo, said he was shaken up by the death of the girl.
“Any time someone loses a small child, it‘s a tragedy,” he said.
Lieutenant Hertzfeld said the home did have two working smoke alarms; damage to the home was estimated at $20,000.
The home was built in 1955 and the property, owned by Equity Trust Company with an address in Ottawa Lake, Mich., is valued at $27,200, according to the Lucas County Auditor‘s Web site.41.72615 -83.58353
Girl was found in second-floor bedroom, pronounced dead at hospital.