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Blaze engulfs houses

A quick-spreading fire fueled by strong winds destroyed three homes and damaged two others early Friday morning in the 2000 block of South Third Street.

All three homes were occupied at the time of the blaze and police were needed to assist in removing several occupants. No one was seriously injured.

The fire was first reported at 2:30 a.m. according to the Lawrence County 911 Center. The Ironton Fire Department arrived minutes later.

Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon said the cause of the fire was currently under investigation but indicated it was most likely accidental. Runyon wouldn’t speculate as to the fire’s origins, however, he did say that it most likely started in a downstairs bedroom.

Runyon added that it was too early to put a specific dollar amount on damage but indicated that it would be in the “hundreds of thousands.”

A car and camper were also destroyed in the fire. The two damaged homes that bookend the three destroyed ones, suffered siding damage due to excessive heat.

Runyon said 17 Ironton firefighters assisted on fighting the fire while volunteer firefighters and trucks from Coal Grove, Upper Township, Elizabeth Township, Hamilton Township, Lawrence Township and Decatur Township were brought in for additional help. No firefighters were injured in the several hours it took to put out the fire.

Ironton Police Chief Jim Carey said at least three officers not only aided with traffic control but also assisted in evacuating people from their homes.

“There was one lady whose house was on fire and I guess they didn’t get a response and she was elderly and they may have had to carry her out,” Carey said.

Several pets had to be rescued as well.

The Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services and the American Red Cross also assisted those displaced and evacuated.