Two houses destroyed by fire in Craig Beach - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Two houses destroyed by fire in Craig Beach

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CRAIG BEACH, Ohio - Two neighboring homes in Craig Beach are destroyed by fire.

Neighbors say what began as one house fire, quickly spread to a second home, and firefighters had to douse a third home with water to keep the flames from spreading even further.

A postal worker, as well as twin boys playing outside, spotted smoke coming from a home at 17431 Afton Avenue just before 10AM on Tuesday.

Several calls were made to 911.

Authorities say even though there were families living in the homes, including one with three young children, no one was home when the fires broke out.

Neighbors tell 21 News that several volunteer fire departments arrived about 20 to 25 minutes after the initial emergency calls were made. Volunteer firefighters in most cases work other jobs and respond as quickly as possible when they are needed.

Firefighters appeared to work to near exhaustion trying to put out the fires.

But some residents believe the second home could have been saved if not for an agreement put in place in 2007 by the former Mayor of Craig Beach.

It left Craig Beach Volunteer Firefighters, who were just blocks away, literally sitting at the fire station, with no authority to respond to the fires.

Milton Township Fire holds the contract to handle all fire and EMS calls in Craig Beach Village through 2015.

21 News archives show at the time that the decision was made, Craig Beach Volunteer Fire had problems with its record keeping.

Mike Purnell, a neighbor who lives ones street over says, "This is proof that something needs to be done. You have a fire department less than three seconds away that could have rolled, could have prevented most of this. I'm very concerned. Something needs to be done about this. If there would have been people trapped in there it would have been tragic, absolutely tragic."

The Craig Beach Fire Chief claims his firefighters have all the required training, and they are addressing the issue with the current mayor.

Sherman Yeager, is the Chief for the Craig Beach Volunteer Fire Department, a non-profit organization, separate from the village, "We got mutual aid contracts. But they don't call us, and we can't respond unless they call us."

Milton's Fire Chief, Harold Maynard says his volunteer firefighter were second on the scene, and responded as quickly as possible, with mutual aid from other departments.

Fire Chief Maynard says they take their responsibility very seriously and are thankful that no one was hurt.

"We have approximately five departments respond for any structure fire immediately. During the day for any volunteer department it's critical because most of the people who are volunteers work other jobs, and they have to come from their work or their home," Chief Maynard said.

The Milton Fire Chief says the biggest challenge to the fire is that one of the homes had two roofs.

"Over the years someone added a pitched roof to the house and the old roof was still under it, so we had to fight two roofs. We couldn't get access to the fire because of the two roofs," Chief Maynard said.

The State Fire Marshal did respond to gather evidence and conduct interviews.

At this point the cause of the initial fire is undetermined.

Meanwhile, neighbors are thankful no one was hurt in a fire dispute at the heart of the community's safety.

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