Woman killed in Willoughby house fire

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio -- The Willoughby Fire Department is investigating an early morning house fire that killed a woman.

Firefighters were called to a house on Gale Rd. just before 1 a.m. Thursday.

Chief Todd Ungar, Willoughby Fire Department, said, "When they arrived on the scene they had very heavy smoke showing from the front. The crew always does a complete walk around of the building and they had a significant amount of fire through the back of the house so that's where they made their entry, put the fire out, and did their searches actually from the back door."

Ungar said the victim, who has not been identified, was found on the first floor. She was taken to Lake West Medical Center where she died.

Firefighters faced a challenge since the house had an addition.

"It makes it a little more difficult for us," Ungar said.

"It's not a typical layout," he said. "So there was some stairs in an area that we didn't anticipate. And just due to the size of the fire that was in the back and the amount of smoke and doing multiple things at once, trying to get the searches done, checking for fire extensions, it was a little bit chaotic."

"Honestly, I think one of the biggest advantages that we have is, we has so many EMS calls, our personnel ends up learning the layout of a typical home," Ungar said. "Anytime you're in a development you have a repeating layout of a home so to have something unusual because of an addition does throw things off."

Ungar said it took crews about 25 minutes to get the fire under control.

Firefighters from six neighboring departments provided mutual aid.

Ungar said investigators would return to the scene at daylight to try to determine the cause of the fire.

He also said he didn't think the home had working smoke alarms.

"That's a great reminder. Everybody is inside right now. We just changed our clocks a little while ago and changing those batteries, if you haven't done so, is certainly an important message to spread," he said.

Google Map for coordinates 41.659795 by -81.404695.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.