At least 3 escape fire at Mentor group home, no injuries reported

MENTOR, Ohio -- Three to four residents and staff members were able to evacuate a Mentor group home that caught fire Thursday morning.

No injuries were reported after the blaze at Heisley Road north of Mentor Avenue.

Deputy Chief Ron Zak said the fire started at just after 7 a.m. in a garage. It then spread to the roof of the structure.

The back of the building is a total loss, he said.

The group home is run by the nonprofit New Avenues to Independence, Inc., which serves more than 350 people in the area. Karen Knavel, CEO of the organization says four men live at the home but only three were there at the time of the fire.

A staff member was able to get the three men, who are in wheelchairs and have intellectual and physical disabilities, out of the home quickly.

New Avenues to Independence has found temporary housing for the men, but they lost all of their personal possessions, including furniture and clothing, in the fire. Anyone wishing to make donations to the men can call her directly at 216-481-1909 ext. 224.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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