LORAIN, OH -- Just days after his father died in a terrible house fire, Enrique Otero, Jr. went to Lorain City Hall for answers, surrounded by family and friends.
Enrique and the others had questions for city council concerning the safety of their neighborhood and aging fire hydrants.
“If we could try to prevent this from happening to anyone else, that’s worth the effort,” said Otero Junior.
Friday, the Otero home on East 30th Street caught fire around 11 a.m. and was quickly engulfed.
Both Enrique and his 90-year-old father escaped the burning home, but Enrique Senior perished after going back inside to try and save the house.
Despite that, family and friends wonder if newer fire hydrants would’ve made a difference or even more firefighters because the homes in that neighborhood are older.
Pastor Angel Arroyo says there have been a number of incredibly destructive fires in recent years.
“Maybe firefighters in South Lorain need a little bit more, maybe more firefighters in that station or another truck or just more support.”
Monday night, they asked city council to investigate and to budget funding for improvements.
Arroyo says, council members wouldn’t discuss it, but Lorain Fire Chief Tom Brown tried to assure residents that upgrades have been made.
He also said although fire hydrants are farther apart, water wasn’t an issue.
“I personally drove the entire district,” said Chief Brown. “Our Pearl Avenue corridor and Seneca Avenue corridor that borders this neighborhood are all brand new water lines and all of the fire hydrants are in service.”
The chief said sadly, the initial 911 calls that day didn’t come in until the fire was already working and Enrique Senior was already back inside the home. So despite the fast response time, it was too late.
“Here’s a man, a fiercely proud man of his home and he did everything to save it, but unfortunately it was a harmful decision for him,” said Chief Brown.
Pastor Arroyo said that he and the fire chief plan to keep communicating and discussing any possible issues until everyone in South Lorain feels safe.