Margaretta Township home destroyed by fire

Riding lawn mower, combustible fluids in garage may have ignited blaze, firefighters said
Alissa Widman Neese
Aug 3, 2014

A enormous fire completely destroyed a Margaretta Township home Sunday evening.

A multitude of firefighters from several departments battled the blaze for more than three hours in sweltering heat.

The fire ignited in the Maple Avenue home's attached garage at about 4:30 p.m., likely intensified by combustible fluids inside, firefighters said.

It's undetermined what exactly sparked the fire, but they suspect a recently used riding lawn mower parked inside the garage could be the culprit.

Within minutes of igniting, the entire garage became engulfed.

Dark smoke and flames billowed into the air, visible from miles away, several individuals at the scene said.

Adam and Jill Hartley and their two young daughters, as well as two pet dogs, escaped the blazing home unharmed.

Groups of people made their way onto the roadside and watched the fire steadily make its way across the entire home, which is in the 5900 block of Maple Ave.

Firefighters from departments in Bayview, Milan and Sandusky, as well as Margaretta, Perkins and Groton townships responded to the scene, as well as Erie County Sheriff's deputies.

By about 7 p.m., Tom Johnson, assistant fire chief for the Margaretta Township Fire Department, called the home a "total loss."

After engulfing the garage, the flames traveled through the attic, gutting the upstairs floor and inflicting heavy smoke damage throughout the rest of the home. The garage, as well as parts of the roof, caved in and collapsed.

Two cars parked nearby and a motorcycle parked inside the garage were completely charred.

"The important thing is everyone is OK," Johnson said.

Just before the blaze ignited, Adam had used a riding lawn mower and stored it in the garage, Johnson said.

Adam came inside the home and shortly after, a smoke detector sounded. He rushed his family out of the home and quickly called 911.

Others had already spotted the flaming garage, however, and had also called Margaretta Township firefighters.

Adam is a Perkins Schools teacher and football coach.

On Sunday, several district employees comforted him on the roadside. Neighbors also distributed water and popsicles to firefighters and bystanders to help them keep cool in the heat.

While on the scene, Perkins High School principal Dean Stanfield said the group plans to coordinate some sort of fundraising effort to assist the Hartley family.

The Register will provide information about any fundraising efforts when it becomes available.



That picture doesn't look like the house...


It was


It fell in on it's self


Thanks, just left before it collapsed.


Thanks to all area fire departments that are helping. Groton, Bayview, Perkins, Sandusky and Milan


For sure, thanks guys and gals !!!


Hope I didn't miss anyone like North Central EMS


Does anyone know who owns this house and if any other houses were involved ?


Whose house was this and is everyone accounted for?


no other homes involved and won't post the name. He's a teacher in Perkins Schools if that is of any help. Just a little respect for the family.


I think all are ok


Hate for this kind of thing to happen to any family. Glad all are safe.


What types of combustible fluids might this include? Curious.

Common Sense

In my own garage, I store gasoline to run a number of outdoor machines. There is a propane/gas grill along with motor oil, cleaning solvents for my vehicle, and possibly lighter fluid for fires unrelated to the grill (think s"mores).


We do too. I guess we should rethink the storage situation. Well, maybe just let the mower cool before pulling it in and closing the door? I don't want to build a separate building for the mower.




So what did these folks do to you??? Could you elaborate or just making stupid comments?




Very stupid comment. Nobody deserves to have their home burnt to the ground. I was repeating a comment made by a child--Vermilion High School student (family friend).


sometimes bad things happen to good people-it's not always karma.


get a life!

God Of Thunder

Karma???? Really??? What an idiot..


Never put hot engines in the same space with combustible/flammable anything!


This house was for sale for at least 18 months.

Sad to look at these pictures.


saw a for sale sign in one picture. very sad situation for anyone to have to deal with.


Note the spectators in photo #5 (student firefighters?) waiting for the house to burn down. Are those fire hoses or a sprinkler system all over the lawn?


All local departments are looking for more volunteers. Since you know so much; go join your local department and find out what they are doing.


Holy moly. That might be the worst firefighting job I ever did see. Get some people inside and fight the fight. You don't need anymore people to volunteer just to stand in the front yard.