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HARDY TWP. -- A fire that started in the early morning Dec. 14 consumed and totally destroyed a home along County Road 333.
Firefighters were dispatched at 4:59 a.m. to 5898 County Road 333 after the Holmes County Sheriff's Office received a 9-1-1 call from property owner Alphaus Zook at 4:56 a.m.
Zook, his wife, and their two adult children had been sleeping when they woke to the sound of a car alarm coming from the garage of the structure, which was converted from a barn, according to Holmes Fire District No. 1 Assistant Chief Kyle Yoder. The fire appears to have started with an electrical problem within the car, which was parked inside the two-car garage, a part of the main structure, which also included living quarters.
Firefighters arrived at 5:05 a.m. to find the west side of the structure, which housed the garage, fully involved, with fire extending into the attic area and the living quarters, said Yoder.
Attacking the exterior of the home, with water hauled to the scene from a Millersburg Village hydrant at NewPointe Church, firefighters worked to battle the blaze, which was contained at 8:19 a.m.
Their efforts were hampered by a fire that spread quickly through a void between the ceiling and the roof of the living area, created as a consequence of the renovation, said Yoder, adding a ruptured gas line also created additional fuel for the fire, making the effort more difficult.
Providing mutual aid to District No. 1 were first responders from Killbuck Township and Prairie Township volunteer fire departments, the Western Holmes Fire District and East Holmes Fire & EMS Co. Firefighters remained on scene until nearly 11 a.m. extinguishing all hot spots.
There were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters, said Yoder.
The Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross was contacted and is providing assistance to the Zooks and their two adult children, who were living at the residence, according to Executive Director Lara Kiefer.
In addition to providing cash assistance for housing, clothing, meals and immediate needs, Kiefer said the agency can help with the replacement of glasses and prescriptions and has comfort kits available, which include blankets and basic supplies.
Long term, she said, the organization works with affected families to meet all their physical and emotional needs, helping also to refer them to others who can offer assistance.
Kiefer said Red Cross also helps to network families with local services. "They're going to need some help," she said of the Zook family, adding, "We suggest the community rally around them."
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.