GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Girard firefighters spent most of Monday night battling flames that happened at a house on Churchill Road in Girard around 10:15 p.m.

The two adults, seven children and the four dogs who lived there weren’t home when firefighters arrived, but more than $1,000 in fish did perish.

The house was destroyed, and crews boarded up the house.

Jared Gearhart, the neighbor who called 911, reflected on what happened.

“One of my friends just pulled up. He was coming to hang out and said, ‘Hey your next-door neighbor’s house is on fire.’ So we called 911,” said Gearhart.

Gearhart: Their whole house like, it’s engulfed in flames. We need people here like ASAP
Dispatcher: OK
Gearhart: Right now
Dispatcher: OK

Firefighters from Girard, Weathersfield, McDonald, and Liberty all responded to help put out the fire.

Girard Fire Chief Jim Petruzzi said none of the family members were home when they got there.

The family did say they lost one of their dogs, a Pomeranian Husky mix. The dog was in a crate in the home, and they are not sure if the dog got out or died in the fire.

Petruzzi said at this point they believe the fire started in a front living room area, but investigators are still looking into what caused it.

“So with the extent of fire damage on the first floor and the heat and smoke damage on the second floor it doesn’t appear that the home will be able to be repaired,” said Petruzzi.

Petruzzi also said the family didn’t have renters insurance and although firefighters were able to salvage a few items the family pretty much lost everything in the fire.

“The Red Cross did come in last night and they were able to assist the family with having a place to stay and giving them what they needed to try to get some clothing to make it through the next couple of days,” said Petruzzi.

A Weathersfield firefighter was taken to the hospital to be evaluated for smoke inhalation. He’s since been released and is said to be doing alright.

Donations are being collected for the Bowling family. They previously were being accepted at Motel 6 in Liberty, but due to fire code restrictions, they can now be dropped off at Old Blackstone Funeral Home on 104 East Liberty Street, directly across from the Girard Fire Station. Pastor Rhonda Gallagher with Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church will handle the collection and will donate and distribute anything that the family does not need. If Gallagher is not there, donations can be left inside the glass porch.

They are in need of the following clothing items:

  • Women’s size XL and size 7 in women’s shoes
  • Men’s size XL and size 12 in men’s shoes
  • Boys (ages 7 and 5) pants/shirt sizes 6/7 and 5/6
  • Boys’ shoe sizes 13 and 10
  • The 15-year-old boy wears a size 10 1/2 shoe
  • The 10-year-old boy wears a size 18 pants and a men’s shoe size 6
  • Twin boys (age 9) wear 10/12 in pants/shirts and size 5 in shoes
  • The 8-year-old girl wears 10/12 pants/shirt and a size 2 in shoes

The family expressed their gratitude to the community for all the donations, and they are currently looking for a place to live and hoping to stay in Girard.