Ashland woman comes home to inferno
A fire of undetermined origin damaged an Ashland home Monday morning despite the efforts of a resident to battle the smoky blaze with a garden hose, Ashland Fire and Rescue officials said.
Melissa Tiszko returned to her rented home in the 700 block of Walnut Street at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, and, from outside could hear a smoke alarm. When she opened the front door, she found heavy, black smoke filling the house, Ashland Fire Division Chief Margueritte Hickman said.
She grabbed a garden hose to try to put out the fire, but the heat and smoke prevented her from reaching it, so she quickly ducked back outside to call 9-1-1.
Ashland Fire and Rescue sent two engine crews, and Jackson County Fire District No. 5 sent one, said Ashland Fire Capt. Walt Anders. When firefighters arrived, they found smoke rolling from the front door and windows of the two-story home.
Crews quickly knocked down the flames, but spent nearly 20 minutes battling the fire, he said. They had to pull down part of the ceiling to make sure the fire hadn't spread, Hickman said
The fire was contained to the kitchen, but smoke permeated the house, Anders said. Cabinets, the refrigerator and a buffet were severely damaged by the flames, Hickman said. Intense heat melted a television, compact discs and other plastic items throughout the house, she said.
Hickman spent the day searching for a cause of the fire, which started in the kitchen. However, the point where it started wasn't near the stove, electrical appliances or any other readily apparent ignition source, she said.
Tiszko's husband, Tom Bean, said his wife discovered the fire when she came home from taking their 5-year-old son to a doctor's appointment. He suspected a possible electrical problem, but said all the appliances were off.
"We didn't even cook breakfast this morning," he said Monday afternoon.
He said the family has renter's insurance and the insurance company and property management firm were helping them.
The family's cat disappeared in the chaos, but returned safely to be reunited with them after fire crews left, Bean said.
Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.