Cuyahoga Falls family escapes as fire spreads to nearby homes

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CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio - Cuyahoga Falls fire officials are investigating the cause of an early morning fire that destroyed three houses under construction in the Hidden Lakes neighborhood.

No one was injured in the fire, which broke out around 6 a.m. Friday on Lake View Drive, according to fire officials. Investigators said it started in a framed house and quickly spread to another framed house next door.

Firefighters kept a close eye on a pair of propane tanks at the construction sites. A third, recently completed house also burned and was demolished once the fire was extinguished.

The Rich family awoke from their sleep and ran from their home without shoes, as the fire began burning the side of

"You never think you're going to have to wake your kids up out of a dead sleep and say 'there's a fire,' and it actually happened," Christine Rich said. "No shoes, just grabbed coats and ran out, just started running."
With embers and ashes flying through the air, other neighbors worried that their homes would be next.

"I was just trying to get my daughter out, and when we got out it was just horrific, just flames going everywhere and snowflakes of fire everywhere," neighbor Nasim Seifi said. Cuyahoga Falls Fire Chief Paul Moledor said the exposed wooden framing and other construction materials fueled the flames.

"It's an unusual anomaly for us to have houses under construction like that go up in this fashion," Moledor said. "Unfortunately what happens when there's a fire in a place like that, the wood timbers all set up real nice for quick, very quick fire spread." A silver lining for the Rich family came when a fire fighter discovered their cat hiding under a couch in their home. They said they were relieved no one was injured.

"Everybody's safe, and that's all that matters," Rich said.