Saturday, February 03, 2001

Child alerts family to flames in house

All escape blaze in Clifton Heights

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Flames shot 10 to 20 feet in the air at a two-story frame house on Emming Street in Clifton Heights before firefighters got the two-alarm fire under control Friday night.

        The two sisters and their four children who lived in the house huddled under blankets in a neighbor's home as they watched smoke and fire roll out of the single-family house they rented.

        “When you see it happen to somebody else you think, "I hope they'll be OK,'” said Ellen Graves, one of the renters. “But you never think it'll happen to you.”

        District 1 Fire Chief Steve Kluesener estimated the fire caused $50,000 in damage to the home where it started and $15,000 to the exterior of a neighboring home.

        “The family is OK,” he said. “Everybody got out uninjured.

        “When we rolled up fire was blowing out of the windows and 10 to 20 feet in the air above the roof.”

        Fire investigators say the blaze started in an upstairs bedroom. Firefighters were able to contain the flames to the upstairs, but the whole house suffered smoke damage. The cause is under investigation.

        Pascha Graves, 25, who also lives in the house, said she was watching videos when one of the children discovered the fire.

        “He (the child) came running down the stairs and said, "Fire! And it's bad, get out.' I'm pretty shaken but I'm glad everybody's OK.”

        Barion Graves, the 6-year-old who discovered the fire, tried to run back in after most of the family had left the house to get his 6-year-old cousin, Mia Graves.

        A family member grabbed him first, he said.

        “I called her name,” he said. “"Mia!' I kept calling her name and then she (came) out.”

        As the children talked one by one with fire investigators to tell their versions of the story, a neighbor bought them pizza and practiced the German words they are learning at Fairview German Language School.


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