by BOB GAETJENS
GATEWAY NEWS EDITOR
Streetsboro -- Gary and Rose Coughenour were done. Their house was complete, and no more major work would be necessary during their ownership.
At least, that was the case until a fire ripped through the home at 1856 Route 303 on Aug. 8. "Those windows were a month old," said Gary. "Everything in there was brand new."
All told, the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage, according to Streetsboro Fire Lt. Brian Novotny.
Coughenour said he and Rose were not injured in the blaze, and the couple owns no pets. The Streetsboro Fire Department was called to the scene at 12:25 p.m., according to Streetsboro police.
Novotny said it appeared the fire started on the back deck, then spread through the main floor of the house, burning off about two-thirds of the roof and causing damage throughout the home.
"We know he was cooking ribs out on the back deck, and we're assuming that was the cause," he said. However, he said the blaze could be connected to something cooking on the stove as well.
Gary said he believes something went wrong with his smoker that caused the fire.
"I was downstairs reading some email, and then I heard a thud," he said, adding he believes the fire must have started shortly after noon. When he arrived up on the deck, a deck box storing aluminum chairs and nearby siding were on fire. The box and deck chairs inside were completely incinerated.
Shortly after that, Gary said something went wrong with the propane tank, and it became "a flame thrower," causing the blaze to spread more quickly throughout the house.
"It was beyond the garden hose, let's put it that way," he said. "The burner, the hose and the regulator were all brand new. At 170 degrees, the thing blew up my house."
The smoker was supposed to reach 200 degrees to cook the ribs, which were still in the smoker at about 3:30 p.m., he added.
The carpets, siding, furniture, doors, kitchen appliances and windows are just a few of the many new items in the home. Some of the décor and furniture will be difficult to replace because it was custom made, he said.
Novotny said much of the structure and contents were damaged by smoke and water, and it's difficult to discern how much property is salvageable.
Providing mutual aid were the Aurora, Twinsburg, Shalersville-Mantua, Ravenna Township and Kent fire departments, as well as the Hudson Fire Department and EMS personnel.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens