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Space heater likely caused house fire in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood

Posted at 8:10 AM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 19:12:50-04

Cleveland Fire companies were on the scene of a working fire at a two-and-a-half-story house at East 68th Street and Dunham Avenue in the Hough neighborhood Thursday morning. No injuries were reported. 

Homeowner Michael Worley told News 5 he was at work when the fire started. A co-worker broke the news that his house was on fire.  

"I didn't believe it," he said. "I was born and raised here."

The home has been in Worley's family since the 1950's. 

Cleveland Fire initially said a resident was unaccounted for at this time, but the occupant was later located. Firefighters attempted a rescue in the back of the home before they knew Worley wasn't there but stopped because the house was too damaged, officials said.

Cleveland Fire Department spokesperson Mike Norman said they had to use more equipment than the fire hydrant could handle. 

"The hydrant that they pulled initially to supply the tower was inadequate, so they had to run a relay. It took us a little longer to get the fire under control than normally it would," Norman said. 

Worley wondered if his house could've been salvaged had the fire department been able to use the hydrant. 

The inadequacy of the hydrant did delay firefighters' ability to put out the fire as quickly as normal, Norman said.

The cause of the fire is still undermined, but Norman said space heaters are a common cause of fires during this time of year as the temperatures drop. 

Worley did not have the gas turned on, and he did have space heaters heating his home.