STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Fire officials in Struthers say a fire that destroyed a vacant house Tuesday was probably arson.
Crews were called out to 42 Wilson Street around 4 p.m.
Heavy smoke and flames could be seen shooting from the roof. Firefighters made the decision to let it burn and save the house next door.
Eventually, the roof and all the walls collapsed. The chimney that stood in the middle fell onto the driveway next door.
No one was hurt and — except for the house that burned — there was little damage to any other property.
“This is a huge surprise for this neighborhood,” said Colleen Mayeux, who lives up the street. “We are a very close neighborhood. We all keep an eye on each other — keep an eye on the street.”
A neighbor who has lived around the area for 40 years said this was not a problem house. There were occasionally kids going in and out of it because it was vacant, and it had been vacant for five to six years.
As the fire intensified, one neighbor said squatters were living in the house. But another said there were no squatters.
“There’s a few [vacant’s in the neighborhood]. There’s been more popping up the longer I live here,” Mayeax said. “But for the most part, it’s like rentals or homeowners. It’s like either or — not so much vacant.”
Many who watched the fire were complimentary of the firefighters.
“They’re doing fantastic,” Mayeax said. “We have such a great fire department here. They’re so close and they just know how to respond quickly and put out fires or car wrecks or any type of surprise accidents we have in the city.”