EAST LIVERPOOL - A city firefighter is recovering at home this week after suffering burns while battling a downtown fire last weekend.
Jim Allmon received second degree burns on his neck when the eaves of the West Fourth Street house collapsed on top of him, Bobby Smith, the fire department's union chief, said.
Allmon is expected to be back on duty some time next week.
Two houses sustained heavy damage as a result of the fire Saturday morning near the intersection West Fourth Street and Persimmon Alley.
The two-man crew on duty - Allmon and Tim Walker - arrived at 325 W. Fourth St. at 7:15 a.m. to find the property ablaze, and the rear of the former home already collapsed. The department put out a call to Liverpool Township volunteers for assistance.
"We have been begging the city for years to have enough firefighters on duty that we can have two fire engines on scene instead of one," said Smith, citing the city's understaffing of the department that led to the call for assistance in battling the blaze.
The home was vacant. According to another city firefighter, it was foreclosed on, but when the bank saw what poor condition it was in, the bank stopped foreclosure proceedings and turned it back over to the owner. It had then sat empty for a long while.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, Smith said the department suspects the fire may have been set intentionally.
The home next door also sustained damage when flame jumped onto its upper story. The attic was heavily damaged by fire while the rest of the home sustained smoke and water damage.
That home belongs to the father of veteran city firefighter Tim Walker, who was on the scene with the department that morning.
The Walker home was insured and the family plans to repair the house, according to Smith.
A third home across the alley also was damaged, with the fire melting some vinyl siding.