Firefighters wrapped her in a blanket and carried the young girl from her burning West Toledo home before rushing her to ProMedica Toledo Hospital, where Olivia Cline was pronounced dead. She was 5.
When Toledo firefighters from Station 18 arrived at 6032 Van Wormer Dr. about 1 a.m. Friday, the back of the West Toledo house, in the residential neighborhood north of Alexis Road and east of Jackman Road, was heavily involved in flames.
Adults who were outside the home told the first responders that Olivia was still inside.
Firefighters climbed a ladder and crawled through a second-story window to Olivia’s bedroom. The firefighters used a strategy dubbed VEIS — vent, enter, isolate, search — to locate the girl. Firefighters, without a hose, climbed through a window and shut the bedroom door, which “buys them time.”
The strategy also kept conditions in the “extremely, extremely smoky” room from deteriorating, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. From outside, crews from Station 23 went on the attack to extinguish the fire.
“It was very, very challenging to try and affect a rescue,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. He said that there was “zero visibility” inside the home. The cause of the fire remained under investigation Friday night.
Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said that the girl appeared to have died of smoke inhalation, but toxicology and other test results are needed for a final ruling.
A woman who was taking belongings out of the house and putting them in a van Friday refused comment.
Sean Driscoll, 49, a neighbor, said the victim’s family was new to the neighborhood and he did not know their names.
Mr. Driscoll said the fire woke him up about 1 a.m., at which time he stepped outside and saw the light of the fire in the home’s backyard.
“Then firefighters arrived and put it out within five or 10 minutes,” he said. “I saw several firefighters get on the roof and cut it out. Then I heard them break out a window and saw them carry out a body wrapped in a blanket, put it on a gurney, and rush it to an ambulance.”
“These fires like that, these are the ones that haunt you,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. “One o’clock in the morning and a house is rolling like this and there are family members outside saying, ‘There’s still a loved one inside.’ Those are the ones that stay with you.”
It was not known how many people were inside the house or who made the 911 call. No other injuries were reported.
Mr. Driscoll, who at age 10 or 11 lost a cousin to a house fire in North Toledo, said he was shaken up by the death of the girl.
“Any time someone loses a small child, it’s a tragedy,” he said.
Lieutenant Hertzfeld said the home had two working smoke alarms. Damage was estimated at $20,000.
The house was built in 1955 and the property, owned by Equity Trust Co. with an address in Ottawa Lake, Mich., is valued at $27,200, according to the Lucas County auditor’s Web site.
By Taylor Dungjen and Mike Sigov - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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