Firefighters stop Niles attic blaze

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT An area firefighter steps onto the roof as smoke from the attic fire escapes through a hole in the structure.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
An area firefighter steps onto the roof of a home at 424 N. 4th St. in Niles as smoke from the attic fire escapes through a hole in the structure.

Ashley Johnson said she could barely breathe when she woke up around 9 a.m. Thursday in her second floor apartment in the 400 block of N. 4th St. in Niles Thursday.

Smoke, barely visible at first, began to fill the room and before long she had difficult seeing.

“My eyes were watering, I didn’t know what was going on,” said the 2008 Niles High School graduate.

Johnson called the Niles Fire Department, which arrived quickly to find smoke escaping through an attic vent on the roof. Firefighters were dispatched around 9:30 a.m.

Johnson got out of the house, but her cat, Dutchess, remained inside, hiding.

Two black dogs from another apartment in four-unit property could be seen running in the snow in the front yard.

Firefighters secured the dogs and returned them to their owners later that day.

Johnson’s cat was also found safe.

Chief Larry Lamb, of the Niles Fire Department, said the cause of the fire is electrical and that it started in an attic area above the ceiling on the second floor.

He said there was minimal smoke and water damage to the home.

No one was injured.

The Niles Fire Department received assistance at the scene from Niles Township Fire, Howard Township Fire, Buchanan Fire, Bertrand Fire, Clay Fire, SMCAS and Niles Police Department.

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