Historic West Toledo home burns to the ground

Barbie Harrison

A home in West Toledo TMs historical neighborhood is in ruins after a fire early Tuesday morning.

I woke my husband up said, get out! The house is on fire, said homeowner Barbie Harrison.

Just before 4 am, Harrison says she called 9-1-1 and her husband grabbed the garden hose trying to save their historic home in the 1900 block of Mt. Vernon. There was nothing they could do and Harrison says the fire department was no help either when they arrived.

I asked one of the firemen why they were not putting water on the fire, and he tells me they were not getting enough pressure."

She watched a slew of problems unravel before her eyes. The root of the problem, the fire hydrant that sits in front of her next-door neighbors home.

The hydrant that the engine that was first on the scene originally took was a poor water supply, said Battalion Chief Christine Davis.

Davis says when this happens the crew on the scene has to go through a chain of command to find a new active hydrant, one that's on a list put out by the water department. They have to attempt to reach the new hydrant, move, or rely on another engine to get to it. She admits this process can be time consuming.

She says it happens in Toledo because hydrants can become blocked with debris in the lines, or the older lines may not be able to create enough pressure.

A test of the hydrant by the Toledo Fire Department this afternoon showed it was working. However, the Water Department put it out of service after accessing it this morning.

Harrison, Director of the Toledo Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio, says the whole community needs to be alarmed about this. She says she did everything right. Her smoke detector went off, they got out and she called for help. She says the city services she's paying for are apparently worthless.

Wrong is wrong. I am angry. I am paying for something I am not getting. I am angry and I have a right to be angry, said Harrison.

We reached out to the Water Department for information about inactive fire hydrants. We are still waiting for a response.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The remains of the home were demolished to the ground. The damage estimate was valued at $175,000.