City firefighters had a long night early Tuesday, with storm-related calls, alarms and a basement fire which put a West 12th Street family out of their smoky, damaged home until extensive repairs can be made.
A smoke alarm was credited with waking up Brice and Nicol Jackson in the 200 block of West 12th Street where firefighters were called at 12:50 a.m. for a house filled with smoke.
Capt. Shawn Mesler said it looked like the fire started in the dryer, causing extensive damage in the basement to electrical wiring and some damage to plumbing. Windows were lost due to the need for ventilation to get the smoke out.
Damages were estimated at $28,000, with the homeowners told to contact their insurance company to have the house boarded up. When heavy smoke was found on the first floor, the rest of the fire department was paged into service. Fire was found in the laundry area.
Part of the department had to leave the scene for an alarm at Salem Community Hospital at 2:05 a.m. and wait for maintenance staff to arrive. The source of the alarm problem wasn't found.
Before going to the house fire, the department had been called to Wendy's at 2388 E. State St. at 11:56 p.m. Monday when employees reported smoke in the building and smoke and sparks coming from the
heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit on the roof. The unit was shut off and Ohio Edison was called to respond, with firefighters returning later in the night to finish up their investigation after leaving for the house fire.
Firefighters responded at 9:03 a.m. Tuesday for a fire alarm at the Salem Medical building on East State Street, and then were called at 9:10 a.m. to the 600 block of North Union Avenue for a utility pole and transformer on fire. There was no fire when they arrived, but Ohio Edison advised this was the problem they had been trying to find for causing other power outages in the city.
Police officers were also dealing with the weather-related calls Monday night. They were called to the 600 block of North Union Avenue at 8:15 p.m. Monday for arcing wires, but no problem with the power lines could be found at that time, although traffic lights in the area of Bentley and Roosevelt were without power.
Both firefighters and police were called at 9:08 p.m. Monday to Highland Avenue and East State Street for a power line down which caused the pole to catch on fire. The intersection had to be closed until Ohio Edison could respond to shut the power off to the line on the road.
Schools closed, delayed
Salem City Schools and St. Paul School were both closed Tuesday, while some neighboring districts were on a two-hour delay due to the weather. Salem Superintendent Tom Bratten said the city district's phone system went down in all buildings, affecting not only the phones, but the computer systems, email and Internet, too
He said the district had originally planned to go on two-hour delay because by then, there would be more daylight and the wind was supposed to die down. The district has 1,200 walkers and there was concern for their safety.
When the phone system couldn't be restored in time, the district canceled for the day, with Bratten saying they couldn't operate without a phone system due to concerns for any emergencies and parents being able to make contact with the schools.
Bratten announced that parent-teacher conferences that were scheduled for Tuesday night at Reilly and Southeast have been rescheduled for Thursday night at the same times. Parents can call the schools if there's a problem with the new night.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org