New Waterford mobile home destroyed by fire

NEW WATERFORD – A fire that broke out in a double-wide trailer off Creek Road took the life of Dunbar, a black Labrador retriever.

The fire was called in shortly after 6:30 p.m. by Melissa Vodenichar, who lives next door to the trailer in lot 165 of the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park.

Vodenichar said she was sitting at the computer in her trailer, with her back facing the neighboring trailer, when her cat suddenly went “flying through the room.” Figuring something was going on, she turned around to look out the window and saw flames shooting out the living room window of Lynette Sprouse’s home.

She immediately called 911.

“They got here really quick. Really quick,” she said of the New Waterford and East Palestine fire departments.

New Waterford Fire Chief Greg Van Pelt and Police Sgt. Chris Weingart were the first to arrive, followed by 14 firefighters from New Waterford and seven from East Palestine. A total of six fire trucks were on scene between the two departments.

New Waterford EMS also responded.

Van Pelt said the fire was contained within at most 15 minutes, but it was already too late to save the home, or the dog. The department is still investigating what caused the fire, and the dog could not be resuscitated, despite firefighters’ diligent efforts for several minutes.

Firefighters attempted to perform manual CPR on the dog before turning to the pet oxygen max the New Waterford department had available.

Weingart said he had to actually break a window at the back of the home to get to the dog, which was found by firefighters in a back bedroom away from most of the fire. The dog was taken outside where they immediately began performing the life-saving efforts. The dog remained unresponsive and firefighters placed a blanket over the animal when it was clear it was too late.

There were no burns on its body, indicating it died of smoke inhalation or excessive heat.

“They did try, they were pumping its chest,” Weingart said.

Vodenichar said she had heard Dunbar barking earlier in the day when the man who normally mows her lawn and the Sprouse’s lawn stopped by to mow. The man knocked on the door but no one answered at the time, she said.

Sprouse and her teenage daughter hasn’t been seen by neighbors for at least a few days, and Weingart said he had been told a For Sale sign had actually been posted in the front window.

It was not his first time on the property.

Weingart said the department has responded to the home for numerous calls, with one being a dog-related complaint for another dog, named Jedi, that was confiscated by the county dog warden following a minor misdemeanor charge of failure to confine in February.

Dunbar was the only one inside the home when it caught fire. There were no other animals on the property.

Although not at home at the time of the fire, Weingart was later able to contact Sprouse, who showed up at the scene distraught.

The mobile home located at 3253 Creek Road was not insured, Van Pelt said.

Vodenichar said Sprouse is the fifth person to live in the home since she moved to the trailer park in 2006. She believes people keep moving because the water lines at the back of the house break fairly often, causing flooding to the back yard.

Her home and some other neighboring homes were without power briefly while firefighters made sure no hot spots were stills smoldering. Power was restored by Ohio Edison later that evening.