Warren firefighters battle busiest winter season in years - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Warren firefighters battle busiest winter season in years

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WARREN, Ohio - Two fire victims remain hospitalized after they managed to escape their burning apartment in Warren Tuesday night.

The fire was first reported after 7 p.m. at the six unit, three story building on Stewart Drive. Five people were treated for their injuries

Warren's fire chief tells 21 News that this is the busiest winter his department has seen in five years and they can't pinpoint any trends when comparing the causes of the fires.

"Although we always feel there's more ignition sources in the winter time, I've never really seen an increase in fires this time of year, and they're not heating related, so no rhyme or reason," Ken Nussle says, Warren fire chief.

On January 13, the department was called to three separate fires, including the blaze at Lifetime Muffler.  The family-owned business estimates a half million in damage.

On January 22, Richard Brugler died after he and his wife were rescued from their burning Beechcrest home.

Nussle says the Steward Drive fire Tuesday night may have started in the kitchen of a first-floor apartment-- the same unit belonging to two of the victims who were sent to Akron Children's Hospital's Burn Unit.

A relative tells 21 News both Brian Whitlow,44, and his mother Nancy Whitlow, 64, remain on ventilators at the hospital in Akron. They remain in critical condition.

Three others were treated for smoke inhalation including an unidentified pregnant woman, a 27-year-old woman who jumped from a second story window and an unidentified man. Brian Whitlow's two children were able to escape the blaze unharmed.

Nussle says crews were able to first utilize on board water tanks on their trucks to begin fighting the flames, while other firefighters were forced to dig through the snow to located a nearby fire hydrant.

"We're asking homeowners and business men that if there's a hydrant nearby your home or business, to help the firefighters, clear the snow from around it," he recommends. 
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