TWINSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) – Captain Earl Wilson, the C-shift commander of Twinsburg Fire Department, was on duty Thursday when the call came in of a house fire on Marwell Boulevard.
“The caller had either set the phone down or lost contact with dispatch, so we know there’s someone in the house. The priority is always life safety,” said Wilson.
He rolled up on the home as two Summit County Sheriff’s deputies patrolling the township were also responding to the call, initially having difficulty finding the address.
“We knew the address but there was no smoke billowing from the home until they made entry to find one of the occupants and then smoke was increased once they got some air,” said Wilson.
Wasting no time, the deputies rushed into the home where they were able to find Nadine Williams, 83, who was reluctant to leave knowing that her husband was still in the basement with the smoke and flames increasing around them.
“The deputies went right to the back door. They were able to go in a couple of feet and help one of the occupants out and then help keep them out, but smoke conditions were bad enough that they couldn’t go back in and try another go,” said Wilson.
The couple’s oldest granddaughter, Brittany Garcias, says the Williams have been married for nearly 70 years.
It doesn’t surprise her to know that her grandmother would not want to leave without knowing her grandfather was all right.
“This is a woman with one vertebra and she’s still able to take care of my grandfather, so that doesn’t shock me at all. She would do anything for my grandfather,” said Garcias.
Twinsburg fire sent two crews into the home, one to attack the fire which appeared to have been burning from an area between the garage and the house, and another to rescue Williams, who was believed to have been in his bedroom in the basement.
“The other crew went in to do the search and they were the ones that found him. The coordinated attacks from the two crews gave a little more time to do the rescue.” said Wilson.
“When the crew made entry to the basement with the hose line, there were flames above their head and high heat,” he said.
Williams was taken from the house immediately to a waiting Hudson EMS crew at the scene.
Wilson says, at the time, he was conscious and responsive.
Williams was taken first to Akron City Hospital, then later transferred to a burn unit at Akron Children’s Hospital, where his condition Friday afternoon was not known.
Nadine declined medical care at the scene, as did the two deputies who were the first inside.
“We checked them too but they stayed on scene as long as they could but they didn’t want to go either,” said Wilson.
Damage to the home is estimated at approximately $100,000.
The State of Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted to assist with the investigation.
“I’m just blessed that they were able to get here in a quick amount of time and grab him because I know he can’t walk. He’s in a wheelchair or most of the time he’s in the bed, so I’m just thankful and I’m blessed and I’m grateful that they were able to get both of them out,” said Garcias.
“Everything seemed to just fit and everything worked the way its supposed to,” said Wilson.
“Our hearts go out to the family, of course, for injuries and for the loss of property. This is what we train for but they did a fantastic job.”