Chief: Minerva bystanders help save mom and baby from recent house fire

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Pictured is the damage to the back of the S. Market St structure that was damaged in the fire.
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A structure fire at 311 S. Market St. in Minerva prompted a heroic response from neighbors and off-duty firefighters on Thursday, April 18, according to Chief Aaron Stoller of the Sandy Creek Joint Fire District.

Authorities were alerted to the fire at 4:45 p.m., but before firefighters arrived, bystanders on S. Market St. and nearby off-duty firefighters sprang into action to save lives, including that of a baby.

“The mom of the baby was on the second floor with the baby. She put the baby out of the second-floor window onto the 1st-floor porch roof, then came out the window headfirst herself,” Stoller said.

The mom then half-lowered/dropped her baby to the group of bystanders that had assembled. Then a ladder was acquired from a neighbor to assist the mom from the 1st-floor roof area. Then another occupant was located and assisted to the exterior of the home, Stoller noted. Off-duty firefighters then did a quick search of the areas they could before the arrival of the 1st engine.

Both off-duty firefighters, Mike Phillips and Brandon Reed, were at Rotary Park for their children’s ball practice when they witnessed the incident and rushed to the scene, calling 911 to report what they were doing.

The incident involved a two-story wood frame building, with arriving crews encountering significant smoke and flames. Mutual aid was sought from Augusta and Great Trail Fire departments.

Firefighters managed to contain the blaze, spending approximately an hour and 15 minutes at the scene. Initial investigations suggest the fire originated externally at the rear of the structure, gradually spreading inside and affecting the attic and second-floor areas. Extensive smoke damage was visible throughout the house.

No injuries were reported.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is currently underway. The Red Cross was called upon to provide support to those impacted by the incident.