Gary and Rose Coughenour were done renovating their Streetsboro home.
The 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 S.R. 303 Thursday.
"Those windows were a month old," Gary Coughenour said. "Everything in there was brand-new."
All told, the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in property damage, according to Streetsboro Fire Lt. Brian Novotny.
The collection of emergency vehicles along S.R. 303 near Page Road also prompted the city to close S.R. 303 from Superior Avenue to Diagonal Road from about 1 to 3:15 p.m. Thursday.
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," Novotny said. However, he said the cause remains under investigation.
Gary Coughenour 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. When he arrived 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, Coughenour 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, he said.
The carpets, siding, furniture, doors, kitchen appliances and windows were 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 determine how much property is salvageable.
Coughenour said he and his wife were not injured in the blaze. The couple is staying at a hotel.
Responding to Streetsboro's call for mutual aid were the Aurora, Twinsburg, Shalersville-Mantua, Ravenna Township and Kent fire departments, as well as the Hudson Fire Department and EMS personnel.
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