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Cleveland fire under investigation, strikes two homes, leaves family homeless

Witnesses report a flash and small explosion just before flames erupted
CLE fire under investigation, strikes two homes, leaves family homeless
Posted at 10:21 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 20:25:29-05

CLEVELAND — Charles Gunn of Cleveland knows how lucky he and his family are this holiday season after they were able to safely escape their burning E. 143 Street home on Dec. 9.

Gunn told News 5 he was on the second floor watching television, and his daughter was on the first floor with her family, when he saw a flash and heard a small explosion or popping sound just outside his window. Gunn explained seconds later he saw flames and smoke, with his next-door neighbor racing into his home to help them out of the house.

“I was in the bedroom watching TV and I saw a flash through the window," Gunn said “I was just trying to figure out if it was for real, Just abruptly like that it was quite a shock to you."

CLE fire under investigation leaves Cleveland family homeless
Charles Gunn told Cleveland fire investigators he saw a flash outside his window seconds before flames started to consume his home.

Gunn was also quick to give big thanks to the Cleveland Fire Department and the three-hour effort they made in trying to save his home.

“They put up some effort to get the fire out because it was going big time at one time there and they did a tremendous job," Gunn said. “They were spraying it and I said oh I hope our house doesn’t get going, but they saved it.”

Cleveland fire investigators have still not determined the cause of the blaze, which severely damaged two homes and left the Gunn family homeless.

CLE fire under investigation leaves Cleveland family homeless
Charles Dunn praised the Cleveland Fire Department for its effort in saving his home from being a total loss.

The American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region responded to the scene to provide assistance and a place to stay for the Gunn family.

Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Tom Revolinsky told News 5 the fire, which filled three city blocks with thick smoke, is another example of the importance of having working smoke detectors in the home.

"There’s four adults, we’re going to get them a place to stay," Revolinsky said. “We”ll give them blankets and comfort kits. Additionally, we’re going to have our case workers follow up with them to help overcome any roadblocks that they may have. That’s the highlight of my day, whenever people are safe and we can come and help them, that makes a rewarding day.”

CLE fire under investigation, strikes two homes, leaves family homeless
The American Red Cross, Northern Ohio Region is providing crucial assistance for Charles Gunn and his family

“If a family needs smoke alarms for their home they can call the America Red Cross or the Cleveland Fire Department and they can install free smoke alarms in their home.

Meanwhile, Gunn is just extremely thankful his family escaped the smoke and flames unharmed.

"Very fortunate, very fortunate, for myself and the family," Gunn said. “Oh yes, I lost a whole lot of things, but I’m not going to cry over spilled milk, I’ll just keep on pushing.”