Massive blaze on Birch Hill Drive in Medina leaves eight families homeless

State Fire Marshal searching for a cause

MEDINA, Ohio - Eight families were displaced after a large fire ripped through a Medina apartment complex.

The fire started on Birch Hill Drive around 4:10 a.m. and quickly engulfed the building.

At least 12 units suffered fire, smoke and water damaged. The units on the second floor were destroyed, according to Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter.

Keith Krakowski said the blaze broke out in the unit above his apartment, and that his wife and two daughters made it out just in time.

"The back porch was engulfed and it was falling onto the ground already. We got out the door and it was like, 'boom', and it went up... we could have died," Krakowski said.

There were no injuries reported.

Lenette Daugherty, 51, was sleeping when she heard yelling from outside. The noise may have have saved her life.

"All of a sudden, this smoke just started coming in my apartment and that's when I knew I had to split, Daugherty said.

Daugherty lost nearly all of her belongings and her cat, which ran from the burning building, is missing.

"She's a Calico. She's real big. She's declawed... it'll be alright just as long as I find my little cat," Daugherty said.

The Red Cross is providing food, clothing and shelter to the eight families.

"You can tell they are pretty much in shock and we're doing our best to put our arm around them and comfort them and keep them warm," said Nick Valentine, a disaster assistance team leader.

There is no immediate word on what started the fire but, Medina Fire, but Painter believes it may have started on a back deck.

The State Fire Marshal is searching for a cause.

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