Man, dogs rescued from two Wednesday morning fires

The homeowner, center, at 2230 21st Street in the Portland neighborhood is interviewed by a fire investigator.
The homeowner, center, at 2230 21st Street in the Portland neighborhood is interviewed by a fire investigator.
A man had to be pulled from a burning apartment at 2226 Liverpool Lane Wednesday morning.
A man had to be pulled from a burning apartment at 2226 Liverpool Lane Wednesday morning.

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Three dogs and a homeowner escaped one early Wednesday morning fire; while a man had to be rescued from a second and unrelated fire about an hour later.

Wednesday started much like Tuesday for Louisville Fire and Rescue firefighters, after being called out to another early-morning fire in the Portland neighborhood with a heating unit listed as a possible cause by the homeowner.

"She said my house is on fire and my daughter called the fire department," said neighbor Mary Whitten.

That first fire came in just before 4:00 Wednesday morning at 2230 21st Street in the Portland neighborhood.

"The occupant inside stated she was watching a movie when she smelled smoke and her smoke detector went off as she was getting up out of the chair she looked back and saw the whole back end of her house on fire," said Major Tom Snyder with Louisville Fire and Rescue.

The homeowner tells WAVE 3 News her furnace was in that area.

Fire officials aren't ruling it out as the cause, but say they continue their investigation.  The fire caused massive damage to the rear of the one-story older white home.

The woman and her three dogs were able to make it out safely, and were being comforted by a neighbor.

The roof area of the white home was lined with smoke residue, and the view from the street inside the front door was black and ashy.

A witness says the flames were so high she thought another home was going to catch fire, but that did not happen.

The home at 2230 21st Street is the very last home on that dead-end street, but firefighters were still able to make it to the scene and battle the fire within minutes of the call.

"It's still a bit tight for us but we got everybody in here and we had the alley in the rear we used," Major Snyder said.

With the homes so close, extra units were on hand and police diverted traffic for several blocks, which caused some semi trailers to find an alternate route since that area isn't far from the I-64 exit ramp.

While crews stayed behind to deal with the clean-up and investigation, the 4th Battalion responded to a fire not far from Bashford Manor.

Around 6:00 am, a 911 call came in to a unit at the Liverpool Apartments, building two.  An upstairs couple woke up smelling smoke and hearing their downstairs neighbor's apartment.

Her husband pounded on the door, but could not get anyone to answer.

"He kept banging on the door downstairs and he couldn't get anyone up so the fire department came and knocked the door down and smoke rolled out," said upstairs neighbor Anna Miller.

Fire crews went to work and knocked down the door, rescuing the man inside.

Neighbors describe him as a man in his late 20's.  Paramedics were able to get him breathing as he was being escorted to University Hospital in unknown condition.

Firefighters believe at this time that the fire started in his kitchen.  It isn't clear if the man was cooking and fell asleep, or if he wasn't even in the kitchen at the time of the fire.

The quick work of his neighbors could have saved his life and the apartment complex.

"They found the guy almost immediately upon entering the apartment and pulled him to safety and began administering first aid," said Chief Richard Haines with Louisville Fire and Rescue's 4th Battalion.

Damage was minimal to his apartment and neighboring apartments.

Fire officials say this time of the year is especially challenging because of the high number of heating-related fires, and while those aren't the confirmed causes of these two fires, they say its a reminder to always have your furnace inspected, and to make sure you keep plenty of space between heaters and other objects.

A heating unit issue was believed to be the cause of a fire Tuesday morning in the Portland neighborhood at 29 and Bank Streets, where three people -- including a 3-year-old child -- were rescued and treated for minor smoke inhalation. [Click here for that story]

Stay with WAVE 3 News and for more on these developing stories.

Copyright 2010 WAVE News.  All Rights Reserved.