By Alex Green
A family of three escaped a fast-moving house fire late Thursday on West Lakeshore Drive in Erie Township, just west of Port Clinton.
“I lost everything,” one resident said, huddled in a van with her two family members as they watched firefighters battle the blaze late into the night.
The occupants escaped unharmed with their two dogs before crews arrived at the scene.
Firefighters from Bay and Erie townships were dispatched to the ranch home at about 10 p.m., arriving to find flames and heavy smoke. They immediately called in all their available manpower, Ottawa County Deputy John Carpenter said.
Crews from the volunteer fire departments battled the flames from every angle, including attacking from the roof.
Firefighters could be seen briefly atop the blazing structure, only to become hidden from view by thick smoke.
“They go up there to punch holes,” Carpenter said.
The technique allowed the house to breathe a bit, but it was a frightening sight when the middle of the roof began to sag. Crews got off the roof before it began to sink inward.
Thick walls of smoke billowed from the east side of the home, swooping across the front of the lawn. Nearby bushes and trees also caught fire, leaving them looking like charred skeletons.
The fire was still burning strong at about 11 p.m.
Authorities closed down about half a mile of Lakeshore Drive, around the area of the home. The home is in the 1700 block of W. Lakeshore Drive, next to Ken’s Body and Paint Shop.
While the family members declined to provide their names, they said they do not know how the fire started.
The property is owned by Melissa McCann, according to the Ottawa County auditor’s website. It’s valued at about $65,000.