A Friday fire at a house on the corner of Jefferson Street and Central Avenue caused minimal damage, though caused a stir in the neighborhood.
The fire started on the porch of a vacant house at 611 Central Ave. at about 4:30 p.m., according to witnesses.
Matthew Bonilla, 31, of 606 W. Jefferson St., lives in an apartment right behind the house and was baby-sitting children of his friends when the fire broke out.
"We felt the heat and smelled the smoke," Bonilla said.
Bonilla's apartment was at least three feet behind the house on fire.
Sandusky fire and police arrived at about 4:30 p.m. Firefighters extinguished the fire within minutes, according to witnesses.
Paula Boyce, 57, also of 606 W. Jefferson St., lives in the front apartment and walked by the house moments before the fire became visible. She didn't see any smoke, but smelled gas fumes.
The fire originated underneath the porch, where several tires were kept, said Fire Capt. Jeff Ferrell. The blaze then spread upward, burning wood railing, the porch roof, siding and an exterior window. The fire was contained before it could do any damage to the inside, Ferrell said.
Total damage to the house was estimated at $10,000.
Ferrell said that if the fire department had arrived later it would have put nearby houses in jeopardy.
"The houses are so close together it would have spread from one house to another," Ferrell said.
Miranda Wood's mother-in-law has owned the apartments in 606 W. Jefferson St. for nearly a year. Wood, 34, of 506 W. Madison St., said since that time, the house on Central Avenue has been vacant.
The house is owned by Jerod Schockley, of Mantua, Ohio. Firefighters contacted him, but had not heard back from him by Friday evening.
The fire remains under investigation.