New Castle News

September 17, 2012

Homeowner saved from New Bedford fire

Gary Church
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A New Bedford resident escaped his burning home with the help of a neighbor.

A fire broke out about 10:30 p.m. Friday at the home of Bob Burrows on Sharon-New Bedford Road at Willowbrook Drive, across from the former New Bedford School.

Burrows, 72, who lives alone, was at the home when the blaze broke out.

A neighbor across the road, Beverly Abranovich, saw the fire and alerted her husband, Eric. He called 911, then ran to the house after he saw flames blow out a front window.

Abranovich said he approached the house from the rear, where the fire had not yet reached, and found an open door. He went in and located Burrows, who had been trying to find his way out.

Burrows said he had become disoriented from the smoke and had inhaled some.

Abranovich was able to get Burrows out of the home and also moved a dog box away from the house to protect the pet.

Firefighters from the Pulaski, New Wilmington and Mahoning volunteer departments in Lawrence County responded, as did those from Shenango Township in Mercer County and Poland Township in Ohio. Also on the scene was the Pulaski Township Police Department, as well as crews from the Noga and Pulaski fire ambulance services.

According to Pulaski Township Fire Chief Guy Morse, the home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. He said the lack of fire hydrants in the area posed a potential problem, but with pre-planning and the support of other departments there was a constant flow of water to fight the flames.

Although the house was essentially destroyed by the fire, Morse said, crews were able to save a nearby garage and large camper. About half the house was still standing after the blaze, but Morse said he expected it to be declared a total loss by the insurance company.

Morse pointed out the age of the home and the fact parts had been added on later created spots that made it difficult for firefighters to reach the flames. Crews were on the scene for about three hours, he said.

Through an examination of the fire and in speaking with Burrows, Morse said, it was determined the fire had begun in a chimney and has been ruled an accident. He noted Burrows had a woodburning stove.

The American Red Cross was assisting Burrows, who Morse said has lost everything in the fire.

(News editor Mitchel Olszak contributed to this report.)