Pomeroy house burns down

POMEROY – No one was hurt in a fire that destroyed a house Tuesday morning at 306 Seneca St., Pomeroy.

The house belonged to John Lamfers and Tonya Klein, according to a representative from Equity Gateway LLC., which is listed as the deed holder with the Calhoun County Assessor.

The Pomeroy Fire Department was paged at about 5:50 a.m., said Manson firefighter Frank Sousa. The Manson, Jolley, Knoke and Rockwell City fire departments also responded to the blaze.

“When they got here at first, it was in the basement,” Sousa said.

“It wasn’t but two or three minutes and it was in the second floor,” said Kelly Bachman, Pomeroy fire chief.

“It was fully engulfed for a while. We kind of went into defensive mode, trying to protect the houses,” Sousa said.

Two men who declined to give their names identified themselves as brothers who lived at the home. They said they got the three children out of the home to a neighbor’s house, and saved their vehicles, but other than that have lost everything. Their dogs were killed in the fire, they said.

Manson firefighter David Hoeppner also said no one was hurt in the fire.

“They got out. They noticed it right away,” he said.

The house had been two stories, Sousa said. All that was left standing was part of one wall.

The official cause of the fire will be determined by the fire marshal’s investigation, Bachman said.

Hoeppner said the initial call indicated the fire began with a corn burning stove, and had started in the basement.

The garage was partially burned, but still intact. The neighboring house to the south had some siding melt on the closest wall.

Frigid temperatures and a strong northwest wind made the work difficult for the fire teams.

“The wind kind of fought us,” Hoeppner said. “This was just a bad situation. If it wouldn’t have been for the wind, we would have had a chance.”

Ice froze on the firefighters’ clothing and equipment, especially on the south side of the house, where they had to spray into the wind.

Hoeppner showed how his breathing mask became caked with ice and unusable.

“I was going to try to put it on on the south side, I’d just taken it off from being up in that window, and I couldn’t get the netting to bend enough to get it on,” he said. “Luckily the smoke had died down enough by then.”

More than one Pomeroy fire engine was damaged by the cold, Bachman said.

“I think our pumper’s broke. (It froze) before we even got here, and that was four blocks,” he said.