Baby begins painful recovery after apartment fire

SANDUSKY Through tears, Brittney Penfield described the burns her 10-month-old daughter suffered in the Columbus Avenue apart
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

Through tears, Brittney Penfield described the burns her 10-month-old daughter suffered in the Columbus Avenue apartment fire Thursday evening.

Her tiny body is marked with second-degree burns and her delicate face sustained even more severe third-degree burns. She remained in stable condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo on Friday as family gathered to support the young mother and child.

"We are very concerned about her," said Penfield, 19.

The infant, who was rescued from the inferno by her mother, will likely face a long and painful recovery. Third-degree burns often require skin grafts and surgery.

Meanwhile, the eight-unit apartment building at 1517 Columbus Ave. sits with broken windows and charred debris scattered in the singed grass. Eighteen people were displaced by the blaze that took firefighters from Sandusky, Huron and Perkins Township more than two hours to knock down.

The American Red Cross Firelands Chapter responded to the destruction and offered hotel rooms to the occupants of the five-story Erie Apartments building.

"We are assisting them with clothing and food and some other essential household goods," said Ron Rude, the chapter's executive director. "We're trying to make them comfortable until they can find other arrangements."

In the meantime, fire officials and residents look for answers.

Sandusky fire Chief Mike Meinzer said that while it appears the fire started on the first floor near the infant's fold-out bed, no cause has been determined. The cause remains under investigation and he said they could have an answer as early as Monday.

The damage was estimated to be $189,000, which includes both the structure and contents. The property is owned by David Bier. His wife said Friday he had no comment on the matter.

To date the Red Cross chapter has spent about $7,000 in assisting the fire victims, Rude said, adding that the cost could increase to more than $10,000.

The chapter is taking donations for local disaster assistance to aid in this and future tragedies.

Donations may be delivered in person to the Red Cross office at 300 Central Ave. or mailed to P.O. Box 835, Sandusky, Ohio 44870.