AKRON, Ohio – An Akron man is in critical condition after he had to be rescued from his burning 10th Street SW home around midnight on Friday.
According to Capitan Bill Howe of the Akron Fire Department, after escaping the fire, the victim went back into the burning home to retrieve belongings and was overcome by the thick smoke.
Family members told arriving firefighters that the man was in the basement. Firefighters quickly went into the basement, which according to Howe was filled with smoke and fire, to rescue the man who is in his 40s.
Howe told NewsChannel5 the man was later found by crews on the first floor unconscious and not breathing.
“We focused our search a lot on the basement area and we had other crews on the first floor. He was found on the first floor in the kitchen area at the top of the basement steps, he never made it to the basement,” Howe said.
Howe said the basement steps intersect with an exterior door and the first firefighters went down the stairs from outside missing the man who was a few steps above them as they went into the basement.
Howe warned anyone faced with a house fire never to go back into a burning home, “If you don’t have a mask on the smoke will take you to your knees right away and put you out quickly.”
According to Howe, the man was starting to come around as the EMS workers were taking him to the hospital. He will be placed in a hyperbaric chamber and have oxygen forced into his body to help in the recovery process. Howe said the man should live but is still in critical condition.
Investigators took NewsChannel5 cameras into the home as they searched for a cause of the fire and found a space heater that was next to a mattress in the basement which was being used as a bedroom.
The space heater is the suspected cause of the fire but the investigation has not been completed.
Firefighters told NewsChannel5 that around eight people were living in the home. No one else was injured in the fire.
Family members told NewsChannel5 that a working smoke detector alerted them to the fire.
Red Cross is assisting the residents.