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Family escapes Monroe Street house fire

Emil Whitis • Mar 24, 2013 at 9:22 AM

A Sandusky family escaped a house fire unscathed Saturday afternoon on West Monroe Street. 

The only casualty — the family guinea pig. 

The fire broke out at about 2 p.m. in an upstairs apartment at 402 W. Monroe St. 

Michael Kusser and his wife Mercedes Kusser were sleeping in bed with their infant boys. 

“I just woke up and the foot of the bed was on fire,” Michael said. “We both woke up, grabbed the kids and got out.” 

Michael then ran back inside and grabbed his cell phone. 

“The fire wasn’t that big at first,” he said. “I went and got a bucket of water and tried putting it out.” 

But when he reopened the door, smoke and flames knocked him backward. 

“I just thought forget it,” Michael said. 

Sandusky firefighters raced to the scene and quickly extinguished the blaze, which was contained to the bedroom. 

With the flames snuffed firefighters ripped out the bedroom drywall and ceiling to make sure the fire hadn’t penetrated. They didn’t find anything. 

“The heat damage was contained to the bedroom,” Sandusky fire Capt. Jim Green said. “The upstairs had a little smoke damage.” 

Green estimated total damages at $10,000. 

Mercedes was devastated. 

“I lost everything — my clothes, my guinea pig, my kids clothes,” Mercedes said through tears. 

Friends and relatives massed around the young family and got them out of the cold by 3 p.m. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

“There’s no obvious ignition source in area of origin,” Green said. “We’ll come back on Monday and try to piece it all together.”

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