Ohio Firefighters Narrowly Escape Burning Home

Two East Cleveland firefighters bailed out of a window and two others were helped down a ladder.


Four East Cleveland firefighters were able to escape after becoming trapped inside a burning home early Friday morning.

According to WKYC-TV a faulty hand held radio may have factored into the incident.

Both the East Cleveland and Cleveland fire departments responded to the home on Auburndale Avenue shortly before 4:30 a.m.

Following an initial knock down, the four firefighters entered the structure and a call was made to the pump operator to turn on the water to the supply line.

That call was never received, likely due to a malfunctioning radio, the news station reported.

"The fire went from bad to worse in probably about five seconds," Firefighter Mike Celiga said. "We had to make decision."

Celiga -- who said he was told he was on fire on the way down -- bailed from a window after his partner, landing 15 feet below.

The two other trapped firefighters were able exit out of a second-story window onto the front porch roof where they were helped down by Cleveland firefighters who set up a ground ladder.

East Cleveland Deputy Fire Chief Rick Wilcox said he feared they would be in "uncharted territory" for their department.

"I was wondering what I would tell their wives," he told the news station.

Luckily, none of the firefighters were seriously injured. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for knee and back pain and has since been released. All other injuries sustained by firefighters were said to be minor.

Following the incident, East Cleveland Mayor Gray Norton announced that 15 new radios will be put into operation to replace the aging devices. They were set to be activated next month, but he said that process will be accelerated.