An intense fire destroyed one townhouse and severely damaged three others in Clyde early Sunday morning.
Occupants of the Laurel Green Apartment Complex smelled smoke and called for help at 3:39 a.m., Clyde police Officer Bruce Kardotzke said.
When fire Chief Craig Davis and the department's volunteer firefighters arrived, officers were finalizing the evacuation of the occupants of all eight units connected to the one that was burning on East Commerce Drive.
"It was fully involved when we arrived," Davis said.
Firefighters were able to contain the blaze in about 20 minutes, but the apartment where the fire started was completely destroyed and three others sustained heavy smoke and water damage, he said.
In total, the fire department spent about eight hours putting out the final hot spots, with assistance from Green Springs, Davis said.
The chief called the Sandusky County American Red Cross to assist the families displaced from their homes.
He also called the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office for help in pinpointing the cause of the fire.
"We're looking into it. We have a pretty good idea, but it's still under investigation at this point," he said.
Two adults and four children were living in the unit where the fire started, and two of the children, in their early teens, were awake when the fire was called in, Davis said.
A dollar estimate of the damage caused was unavailable Sunday.
"It's going to be a significant dollar amount," Davis said.
But no one was injured in the early morning fire, a fact Davis said was helped by the modern structure of the unit that kept the fire from spreading, and working smoke detectors.
"Luckily, we got in and got quick knock down," he said. "It wasn't as bad as it could have been, considering the time of night it happened."