Trains remain a problem for Sebring firefighters, caused delay reaching fatal fire Saturday

Local News

SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – One person is dead after a house fire in Sebring Saturday, which firefighters had difficulty reaching.

Trains running through Sebring is nothing new to their community, but it can affect when emergency crews need to get from one end of town to the next. It’s something they’ve dealt with for decades.

At around 10 p.m. Saturday night, a house on New York Avenue was engulfed in flames.

While fire crews were on their way, they were stopped by a train that was making its way through town.

“It took us 13 minutes to get from here to the house that was on fire,” said Sebring Fire Chief Mike Springer.

The tracks run east to west through the heart of Sebring, with the house being on the north end of the tracks.

Damascus Fire Department got there first for mutual aid.

“Within that 13 minutes, Damascus was able to respond and get there and put water onto the fire. That’s the reason we have mutual aid set up with them, just in case we run into something like this,” Springer said,

Sebring Fire Department is also set up for mutual aid with Homeworth, Beloit and North Georgetown.

The drive from the fire station to the house would have been a two-minute drive, but it took much longer.

“The fire already had its flash over and the load had happened. Time counted, but it wasn’t near as bad as if it was just progressing,” Springer said.

But this isn’t the first time Sebring Fire Department had to deal with a train coming through.

Earlier Saturday evening, a train was stopped on the tracks when they got the call for a gas leak.

“So, we had to divert and go to Alliance to get around the train to get to the gas leak call that we had,” Springer said.

It took them about 14 minutes to get there, compared to the seven minutes if it were a straight shot.

Springer has been with the department for 16 years. He says there have been conversations with the train company, but that’s as far as they went.

So until then, fire fighters have to reroute when a train comes through.

“Is the train going from east to west or west to east? Do we need to go the other way to get around it or call mutual aid?” Springer said.

Springer also says they have a station on the south end of town where the fatal fire happened and he has three fire fighters who live on that end.

However, on that night, they were on the wrong side of the tracks.

“One was out of town and the other two were on this side of town,” Springer said. “So when the call came in, everybody was on this side of the tracks.”

As of now, the fire is still under investigation.

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