Youngstown firefighter falls through roof - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown firefighter falls through roof

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

There was a scary moment late Sunday night as Youngstown firefighters battled a vacant house fire on Zedaker Street.

Lieutenant Ben Szmara fell through the roof of the home but managed to catch himself on attic rafters, instead of falling straight through into the living room. 

"The majority of the fire was up in the attic. It was a single story home, cape cod style. Most of the smoke was trapped up in that attic, so the ladder crew at the time were ventilating the roof," said Youngstown Fire Investigator Kurt Wright.

Szmara suffered injuries to his shoulder, left hip and leg. He was sent to St. Elizabeth Health Center and was treated and released. 

As far as a cause of the fire, investigators say it appeared to start inside a hallway closet.  A plastic bottle of lighter fluid was found on the hallway floor adjacent to that closet.

That will be collected with other evidence found at the scene as part of an arson investigation.

Vacant house fires continue to be a problem in Youngstown and instances like this prove they can be very hazardous to fight.

"Often times with the vacant homes, whether it be an act of arson or a cover up for the theft of pipes, a lot of times there is structural damage that is done without our knowledge," said Wright.

Szmara is expected to be back on the job by next weekend.

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