GALLIPOLIS — Local firefighters responded to reports of a fully involved house fire on Third Avenue with one person entrapped on Wednesday morning.
According to the Gallia 911 call log, Gallipolis Fire Department personnel were dispatched to the residence in the 800-block of Third Avenue at 5:33 a.m. Point Pleasant Fire Department personnel were also called to the scene for manpower and apparatus.
“The original call told us there was confirmed entrapment, but as I understand it, a gentleman from Portsmouth Ambulance was close by and they found the occupant there towards the front end of the structure, either inside or on the porch,” said Gallipolis Assistant Chief Mike Null. “They found him, got him away from the structure across the street to safety. The gentleman was about 69 years old and from what we found out, he was supposedly the only one home at the time.”
American Red Cross was contacted for the gentleman, as there is nothing left inside the home and it is no longer inhabitable. Gallia EMS transported the man to Holzer Medical Center for evaluation, according to Null.
“It was, for all intents and purposes, fully involved upon our arrival, you could see the flames taller than the high tension electric lines next to it,” said Null. “At this time, according to the chief, there’s not enough evidence there to even begin to know what the cause was, we have no idea.”
Null continued: “It’s an older house with balloon construction, and generally that is made in the 1875 to 1900 time period. There are no fire stops, there is no insulation in the side walls, nothing like that. Balloon construction will have vertical studs that look like yard sticks with gaps between them and plaster pressed on. Since there is no fire stops, no insulation, nothing, each one of those vertical strips going from one floor to the next is a chimney and in five minutes time it can go from ‘where is the smoke coming from’ to a fully involved structure fire.”
Local utilities were contacted to shut off gas and electric to the residence as the fire damaged some of the protective coating from the wires.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.