The Lisbon fire could have been much worse

It could’ve been much, much worse. An early morning fire Sunday in Lisbon captured headlines throughout all media outlets and, of course, dominated social media too. A historic — anything 208 years old would have to be considered just that — building was gutted. Good fortune was had by all residents escaping although 11 dogs perished. The three-story structure housed five apartments.

It was reported later that some of the tenants were using space heaters because they did not want to pay for gas service. That includes the person in the specific apartment where the fire began.

Lisbon Assistant Fire Chief Kurt Gresh said that although the fire began in a bathroom containing a space heater it can not be determined with certainty that it was the cause.

Regardless, documented instances of heaters being used instead of conventional, safer furnace heating exist many times over as causes of fires including some with fatalities. Same goes for fireplaces that are not properly maintained. Don’t even think about heating by opening the door of an oven going full blast. Let this be a lesson if not outright warning to those who heat their residences by using space heaters: such devices are not meant to be burdened with being used as primary heat sources. Is it really worth doing that to save some expense? Or — if you can’t afford heating costs — there are means to try to acquire public assistance such as via HEAP. Simply put, it is not safe. Period. Time and time again this has been proven. Read the warnings, heed the advice.

Public praise goes out to the quick-responding Lisbon firefighters who got initial help from the West Point and Hanover Township and later with aerial ladder truck assistance from Salem and East Palestine. Also contributing with a truck was the Columbiana Fire Dept. Providing standby was the Winona and Glenmoor departments.

Gresh and the Lisbon firefighters were thankful for the help because the village has one engine and does not have a ladder vehicle. The team effort wasn’t surprising. Much like local police and law enforcement agencies, area fire departments are part of a fraternity that exists to serve and protect local residents. They help each other out. Granted many of their calls are routine. But how many of us have jobs that at any given time means putting your life on the line to protect others? Remember that when going to the ballot box next time when a fire levy up is up for vote. The firefighters deserve our support and they deserve our gratitude for always being at the ready, twenty-four hours a day, day in and day out.