Fire Damages Mayor Marks' Home in Mogadore, Ohio

Embattled Mogadore Mayor Steve Marks is used to being under political fire -- but last night his troubles were at home.

About 10:20 p.m., Marks and his wife, Shannon, heard an explosion coming from the second floor of the house on Dick Street. Minutes later, the second floor was in flames.

The couple raced upstairs to get Marks' 75-year-old father, who was in his upstairs bedroom.

All three family members got out of the house before the fire department arrived. Marks and his wife sustained minor burns to their feet. The elder Marks was unharmed.

''It was a loud, deep boom. People heard it miles away,'' Steve Marks said Thursday. ''I was just winding down from a council meeting when I heard it. We tried to stomp out the fire in his room but we couldn't.''

The mayor, a political newcomer elected in 2003 by 18 votes, was spared a recall last month when Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell ruled that affidavits from two petition circulators violated state law.

Marks said he managed to salvage papers from his second floor home office before leaving the house. His stepson and son, who both have upstairs rooms, were not home at the time of the fire.

The mayor said he expects repairs to take at least 60 days. ''I'm just happy no one got hurt,'' Marks said. ''Anything else can be replaced.''

Firefighters from Mogadore, Springfield and Suffield worked on the fire until about 3:30 a.m. A neighbor reported the blaze.

Mogadore Fire Chief Don Adams said arson officials from his department and the State Fire Marshal's office examined the scene late Wednesday and Thursday, and have ruled the cause of the fire accidental.

Damage was set at $60,000. The bedroom where the fire occurred was gutted. The remaining two rooms and a bathroom sustained heavy smoke damage.

Adams said the fire started in the room occupied by Marks' father, who has been ill. The probable cause of the explosion was two aerosol cans, likely ignited by a candle or a cigarette. Marks said his father does smoke.

''Those cans can give off a crack that sounds like a gunshot,'' the chief said. ''We found two of them, one exploded violently, the other not so violently.''

State officials were called in because Adams said he didn't think a village department should investigate an incident that happened at the home of its top official.

Reach Kymberli Hagelberg at 330-996-3038.

Distributed by the Associated Press