Firefighters called to home 4 times over last 2 years

SANDUSKY Fire officials are describing it as bad luck. Since 2005, Stella Hunter has
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Fire officials are describing it as bad luck.

Since 2005, Stella Hunter has called the Sandusky Fire Department to her house at least five times. She has had four fires, along with one carbon monoxide scare in which no problem was found.

In two years, Hunter's residence at 1329 E. Perkins Ave., has had a garage fire, a couch fire, a chimney fire and, most recently, an attic fire on Tuesday night.

She's lucky she won't get a bill, because the department's costs for responding to her calls alone is around $6,000.

Hunter refused to comment on the fires.

At Tuesday's fire, neighbors watching the firefighters were unfazed. They said they were accustomed to seeing flashing lights in front of her house.

"What'd she burn down this time?" One neighbor asked.

"I'm pretty sure when (the fire department) heard who it was, they knew exactly where it was," said another neighbor. Both neighbors asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

"Four fires is not typical for one person to have that many fires," said Assistant fire Chief Paul Ricci.

He said that all fires were investigated by both the fire department and the insurance company, and the evidence didn't point to anything intentional.

For two of the fires, firefighters were told a dog started the fire by knocking over a candle, according to the incident reports.

Sandusky Fire Captain Jim Green said it's not uncommon for someone to leave a candle unattended.

"A lot of times people leave things unattended on accident. If it happened once, you don't think it could happen twice," Green said.

Ricci says practicing fire prevention is the best way to help the fire department with its already-reduced staff.

"(When they're out on a call,) those units are not available for other calls. Typically we're averaging 15-20 calls per day. That's why it is important that people be fire safety cautious," he said.

Ricci reiterated that regardless of how many times the fire department has been called to a particular residence, they still respond to every call and take every call seriously.