CRAIG BEACH, Ohio (WKBN) – A Craig Beach couple is thanking firefighters and neighbors for doing all they could to save their home from a fire overnight, but everything was still destroyed.
State and local investigators looked for a possible cause Wednesday morning.
Jacob Hambrick said he spotted the flames in the basement of his house and tried putting the fire out himself.
“I couldn’t get down there. It was too hot, it was just way too hot,” he said. “I’ve worked at a steel mill and never had fire come at me like that.”
At the same time, his girlfriend, Nicole Yereb, was frantically calling 911 and trying to get their 4-year-old son out of the house.
With firefighters on the way, Yereb tried to get back inside to save her pets.
“I army crawled on the back deck, through the dining room — probably got to my, where my table was — and I couldn’t see or breathe,” she said.
“The house was completely done before they ever showed up,” Hambrick said.
Although volunteers from Craig Beach and Milton Township arrived roughly 15 minutes after that initial call, the house and just about all of the family’s belongings were lost — including one of their dogs.
The couple said it simply took too long for help to arrive.
“I don’t think it’s any fault of the fire department,” Yereb said.
“They’re voluntary. They just don’t have the funding out there,” Hambrick said.
Instead, they blame village leaders for not having any full-time firefighters. The local department is actually a privately-run agency that’s under contract and does its own fundraising.
“How many people have to suffer and lose everything because you don’t wanna pay a little bit extra money?” Yereb said.
We tried contacting village officials, but they haven’t returned our messages.
Hambrick and Yereb are staying with family while they try to start their lives over again.